Log In | Customer Support   
Home Book Travel Destinations Hotels Cruises Air Travel Community Search:  
Search

Search CruisePage

Book a Cruise
 - CruiseServer
 - Search Caribbean
 - Search Alaska
 - Search Europe
 - 888.700.TRIP

Book Online
Cruise
Air
Hotel
Car
Cruising Area:

Departure Date:
Cruise Length:

Price Range:

Cruise Line:

Forums
 >  Cruise Talk
 >  Rail Talk
 >  Air Talk
 >  Destination Talk
 >  Hotel Talk

Buy Stuff

Reviews
 - Ship Reviews
 - Dream Cruise
 - Ship of the Month
 - Reader Reviews
 - Submit a Review
 - Millennium Cruise

Community
 - Photo Gallery
 - Join Cruise Club
 - Cruise News
 - Cruise News Archive
 - Cruise Views
 - Cruise Jobs
 - Special Needs
 - Maritime Q & A
 - Sea Stories

Industry
 - New Ship Guide
 - Former Ships
 - Port Information
 - Inspection Scores
 - Shipyards
 - Ship Cams
 - Freighter Travel
 - Man Overboard List
 - Potpourri

Shopping
 - Shirts & Hats
 - Books
 - Videos
 - Reservations
 - Vacation Specials
 - Web Deals

Contact Us
 - Reservations
 - Mail
 - Feedback
 - Suggest-a-Site
 - About Us


   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.


Cruise News - May 21, 2018

Norwegian Bliss Becomes Largest Passenger Ship to Traverse Panama Canal
Norwegian Bliss completed yet another milestone, as she makes her way to her home port of Seattle, becoming the largest passenger ship to transit the Panama Canal since the completion of the canal’s expansion project in 2016.

As the newest and largest Norwegian Cruise Line ship at over 168,000 gross tons and a capacity of 4,004, double occupancy, she passed through the new set of locks, on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides. The new locks were constructed as part of the biggest enhancement project since the canal’s opening in 1914. Norwegian Bliss cruised through the canal, on her way to Los Angeles, California, and will complete her first Panama Canal cruise on Friday, May 25.

Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of Norwegian Bliss in Bremerhaven, Germany on April 19, 2018, after which she began her inaugural tour. Her exhibition commenced with a preview event for the European market, before she embarked on her transatlantic voyage on April 21. Upon her arrival to the U.S., preview events took place in New York City (May 4-6) and Miami (May 8-10), with upcoming events to take place in Los Angeles (May 25-27), and Seattle where she will celebrate her official christening (May 30-June 2).

“We are very proud to showcase our newest ship and celebrate one more exciting milestone with Norwegian Bliss as the largest passenger ship to transit the new Panama Canal,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.” We are excited for this sixteenth ship in our young and modern fleet to begin welcoming guests in her home port of Seattle and provide them with the outstanding service, dining, entertainment and amenities for which we are recognized.”

Following her U.S debut in New York City, Norwegian Bliss made an appearance in Miami for a two-day inaugural preview cruise from May 8-10 with brand partners, key media and industry representatives on board. Among the guests were Norwegian Bliss’ Godfather, Elvis Duran and members of the cast from the Z100 morning show. Also present was renowned marine life artist, Wyland, who designed the ship’s hull art, entitled “Cruising with the Whales,” and who saw his finished work for the first time since the unveiling in January when he visited the Meyer Werft shipyard. The engaging and beautiful art prominently features a stunning image of a mother humpback whale and her calf as the centerpiece of the design, signifying the beauty of Alaska and the importance of the sustainability and conservation of our oceans.

Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas Arrives in Southampton Following Makeover
Independence of the Seas, voted the UK’s favourite cruise ship*, and one of the Royal Caribbean International fleet, arrived today at her new home in Southampton, amped up with all new experiences and boasting even more extraordinary features after her amazing, family-focused multi-million pound makeover.

Dubbed ‘the ultimate family ship’, Independence of the Seas has an array of stunning new features to delight kids and adults alike. For the first time ever, guests can hop into the Sky Pad, an out-of-this-world new virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, and splash away their days at interactive aqua park, Splashaway Bay, which is bigger and better than ever before.

The reimagined ship also includes a host of other new features:

• The Perfect Storm, a duo of racing waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon.

• Glow-in-the-dark laser tag, an experience in Studio B unlike any other, where friends and family can team up to play “Battle for Planet Z”.

• Puzzle Break, a new escape room experience where competitors can put their minds to the test, working together to find hidden clues and solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. With only 60 minutes of play, the excitement builds with each tick of the clock.**

• Breathtakingly beautiful new lounges and Panoramic Oceanview staterooms adds an extra bit of extraordinary to Independence. With stunning wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling views, guests can soak up the feeling of standing on the bridge of the ship and watching the sunset over the coastline, all from the privacy of their own stateroom.

• Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, enables sports fans to enjoy all the biggest live sporting events over ice-cold beers, wings, sliders and more.

• Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, the exotic Asian-inspired dining experience gives guests the chance to enjoy fresh sushi and experience skilled chefs cooking tableside on teppanyaki grills.

• Fish & Ships, a poolside eatery where guests can grab quintessentially British seaside treats.

• Sugar Beach candy shop, a wondrous world of delicious delights, along with a few exciting surprises.

The icing on the cake is that all this can now be enjoyed by UK holiday makers with the added convenience of sailing from Southampton.

A real gem in Royal Caribbean International’s fleet of 25 ships, her return will not only add innovation, but also investment to the area, as each ship visit is worth an estimated £2million to the local economy - totalling a whopping £44million a year.

Managing Director, Royal Caribbean International UK and Ireland, Ben Bouldin said “Holiday time is precious, and travellers today have higher expectations and more options than ever before. We don’t just want to meet these expectations, but smash them and redefine how to holiday. From our largest yet hibachi restaurant to a virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, Independence of the Seas is set to be the most spectacular ship sailing out of Southampton this coming season.”

Guests will be welcomed onboard for her first new sailing on 15th May 2018 where she will embark on a two-night cruise to Paris from Southampton. Guests can dabble in modern art at the fabulous Musée d’Orsay, explore the Normandy coast, visit glorious Versailles or take in iconic sights such as the Paris Opera, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.

Following her inaugural sailing, Independence of the Seas will call at destinations across Europe and the Mediterranean until November 2018.

Princess Cruises Announces 2019-2020 Caribbean Season
Princess Cruises guests sailing to the Caribbean will enjoy the white-sand beaches, warm sunshine and inviting island life on a variety of cruise itineraries to all three sought-after regions – Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean and Southern Caribbean. On sale today, the newly announced fall 2019 to spring 2020 program features the maiden season of Sky Princess, debuting in December 2019 on a three-day inaugural cruise, followed by a series of seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages.

The cruise line's fourth Royal-Class ship, Sky Princess, sets sail out of Ft. Lauderdale on a three-day, roundtrip cruise departing Dec. 4, 2019, visiting Princess Cays, recognized as one of the top cruise line private islands in the Bahamas. The ship then sails on alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale Dec. 7, 2019 - April 4, 2020. Voyages offer late-night stays, during every visit to St. Thomas and Cozumel so guests can enjoy more time in these popular destinations.

"The Caribbean continues to be a highly desired destination for families, honeymooners and travelers alike, offering a memorable taste of the island life through its culturally diverse people, flavorful food and of course, the sun-drenched beaches," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "The new Sky Princess and our other beautiful ships provide comfort and convenience while visiting the many diverse Caribbean islands."

Onboard, our guests can celebrate the unique colors, cultures and flavors of the islands with our Rhythm of the Caribbean program. Princess guests can immerse themselves in one-of-a-kind cultural activities — from local music and crafts to meeting "Parrots in the Piazza" and captivating presentations from local experts like shark divers and treasure hunters.

At-a-glance, itinerary highlights for the 2019-2020 Caribbean season include:

• Five ships offering 10 itineraries and 119 departures onboard Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess, Pacific Princess, Regal Princess and the new Sky Princess.

• Regal Princess also offers seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages from Ft. Lauderdale with "More Ashore" stays in St. Thomas and Cozumel.

• Longer and more destination-rich itineraries to the Southern Caribbean aboard Caribbean Princess and Crown Princess, featuring 10- or 14-day cruises.

• Princess Cruises visits 25 Caribbean islands and six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Belize Barrier Reef System and Antigua Naval Dockyard and related archeological sites

• Calls to the award-winning Princess Cays on every seven-day Eastern Caribbean voyage, and select Western and ten-day Southern Caribbean voyages.

A unique 14-day holiday cruise aboard Pacific Princess visiting Southern Caribbean island Mayreau for the first time.

Sky Princess also introduces the line's new Sky Suites, offering guests the largest staterooms on the ship, and best views with their most premium suite ever. With 270 degree views from the top of the ship and exclusive views of the ship's Movies Under the Stars screen, guests will enjoy a variety of new amenities exclusive to the Sky Suites. The Princess Cruises Sky Suites will be the first staterooms to accommodate up to five guests, and offer the largest balconies in the fleet with luxury furnishings. More details on the suites to be announced in the coming months.

Disney Cruise Line Announcces Lineup of Itineraries and Home Ports for Fall 2019
In fall 2019, Disney Cruise Line will return to favorite destinations and home ports on a variety of itineraries, including adventures to Bermuda, Bahamas, Baja, Canada and the Caribbean. With cruises ranging from two-night getaways to weeklong vacations and beyond, this season of sailings offers countless opportunities for families to delight in Disney magic, explore exotic locales and make lifelong memories together.

Sailings to Bermuda, Bahamas and Canada from New York

The Disney Magic returns to New York in September for a selection of departures to a diverse collection of destinations, including luxurious Bermuda, sun-kissed Bahamas and historic New Brunswick, Canada.

Three special five-night cruises feature two days in Bermuda, allowing extra time for guests to indulge in the island nation's famous pink-sand beaches, world-class shopping, abundant water activities and distinctive blend of British and Caribbean culture.

During two seven-night sailings from New York to the Bahamas, cruisers are treated to a double-dose of pixie dust. A stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, is paired with a day at Port Canaveral, Florida, where every guest receives a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and round-trip transportation to the theme parks in nearby Orlando.

A single five-night cruise to Canada transports guests from New York to charming Saint John, New Brunswick with a stop in Bar Harbor, Maine. Saint John is the home of majestic natural phenomena like the renowned Reversing Falls and the world's highest tides, located where the Saint John River meets the Bay of Fundy.

Baja and Mexican Riviera Voyages from California

In September, the Disney Wonder sets sail for a limited engagement in San Diego, where guests embark on adventures to Baja and the Mexican Riviera. Baja itineraries highlight the region's famous beaches and exciting water activities with calls on Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico. Two exclusive seven-night Mexican Riviera sailings feature the snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas.

Disney Cruise Line guests can enrich their experience by combining select San Diego-based cruises with a pre-cruise package from Adventures by Disney, a leader in family guided group vacations. During this three-night itinerary, guests embark on a rare behind-the-magic visit to The Walt Disney Studios and Disney Archives, a private tour of Walt Disney Imagineering and a visit to the place where it all began — the Disneyland Resort.

Vacations to Bahamas and Caribbean from Texas

Beginning late November, the Disney Wonder will make Galveston its home port for a special series of sailings to the Caribbean and Bahamas, with options at four, six and seven nights. Caribbean cruises include stops in Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Falmouth, Jamaica. Bahamian itineraries feature stops in Castaway Cay and Key West, Florida. Two of the Bahamian sailings also take guests to Nassau, Bahamas, while another includes an exclusive second day on Disney's private island.

Tropical Escapes from Florida

In fall 2019, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy continue sailing guest-favorite itineraries to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Port Canaveral, while the Disney Magic returns to Miami in November with a variety of cruise lengths and itineraries.

The Disney Magic's diverse lineup includes three-, four- and five-night Bahamian sailings and five- and six-night Western Caribbean cruises, and most itineraries feature a day ashore at Castaway Cay. Other ports of call on Bahamian voyages include Nassau and Key West, while stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel headline the Western Caribbean itineraries.

The Disney Dream sails three- and four-night cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay. These itineraries make for the perfect family getaway, combining the magic of Disney with the ease and enjoyment of a tropical cruise vacation.

The Disney Fantasy sails seven-night Caribbean voyages, and every cruise includes a stop at Castaway Cay. Eastern Caribbean itineraries visit the Virgin Islands of Tortola and St. Thomas, and Western Caribbean cruises call on Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth. These weeklong experiences allow for even more family fun as guests make memories aboard their Disney cruise ship and at port in renowned tropical destinations.

The Disney Fantasy will also sail a selection of special itineraries. In October, an eight-night voyage transports guests south to St. Kitts, Antigua and San Juan, Puerto Rico, while a six-night Western Caribbean itinerary includes calls on Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. Both itineraries are capped off with a day at Castaway Cay. In December, two unique seven-night itineraries include one cruise to San Juan, Tortola and Castaway Cay, and another voyage featuring two days on Disney's private island after visits to Cozumel and Grand Cayman.

Celebrity Cruises Unveils an Ahh-Inspiring Escape at The Spa on Celebrity Edge
A holistic wellness journey like no other on land or at sea, today Celebrity Cruises unveils The Spa on Celebrity Edge. With more than 22,000 sprawling sq. ft. for guests to renew, restore, and reinvigorate, The Spa was inspired by nature, and masterfully designed by world-renowned designer Kelly Hoppen, MBE, and features an ahh-inspiring assortment of treatments in collaboration with industry-leading partners.

"Our aspiration for The Spa was the same aspiration we have for Celebrity Edge – to provide our guests with a deeper and more profound connection to the sea," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "To start the revolution in relaxation, we turned once again to the visionary Kelly Hoppen to completely transform the spa experience and develop an atmosphere that envelops you in luxury and soothes your soul from the moment you walk in."

To create an environment that is both in harmony with nature and undeniably luxurious, Celebrity collaborated with Hoppen, who passionately brought her warm opulence to Celebrity Edge's accommodations, including the suites and The Retreat.

"The spa has always been a sacred space to me; as a young girl, I always dreamt of designing my very own spa and Celebrity Edge proved to be the perfect outlet for living out my dreams," said Hoppen. "A spa is a place where one goes to relax and be pampered, so for me The Spa had to be neutral in palette and complementary lighting, evoking a sense of calmness. Every aspect of the design is meaningful to me; from the dramatic crystal installation – which was inspired by the qualities that crystals have had on my life – to the imposing and dramatic, yet Zen sculpture acting as a reception desk."

Celebrity infused natural elements into every moment of the experience at The Spa through an original concept called SEA – inspired by the Sea, Earth, and the Air – which transcends the design of The Spa and treatments.

SEA unites every experience throughout the wellness journey. Bespoke blended essences fill the air, kickstarting the path to total bliss. The Relaxation Lounge surrounds guests in a Zen-like ambience, clearing their mind before their treatments begin. And every treatment starts with a unique welcome ritual to prepare one's mind, body, and spirit for the pure, unadulterated pampering to follow.

"As we curated The Spa journey with Celebrity, the inspiration behind this revolutionary concept was to connect guests with nature while delivering distinctive sensory experiences, uncompromising service, and a wealth of new wellness choices that are exclusive at sea," said Glenn Fusfield, President and CEO, One Spa World, LLC. "We've created a concept that not only evolves spa and wellness but sets the new standard."

Celebrity has teamed up with the leading authorities in their fields to harness cutting-edge technological and therapeutic innovations to create a spa experience unlike anything else. There are more than 124 treatments, including signature offerings such as the Ocean Spa Wave Massage, Hot Mineral Body Boost, Poultice-Powered Muscle Release, Zero Gravity Wellness Massage, Restorative Salt Stone Massage, and Thousand Flower Detox Wrap, to name a few.

From wellness to beauty to fitness, The Spa on Celebrity Edge also features a lineup of first-at-sea and brand-first offerings for guests to enjoy, including:

• Celebrity is excited to unveil the SEA Thermal Suite, the next evolution of the popular Persian Garden on the brand's current fleet, with eight distinctive therapeutic experiences harnessing the benefits of natural elements: the Hammam, Salt Room, Steam Room,

• Rainfall Water Therapy Room, Float Room, heated tile loungers, Infrared Sauna, and Crystalarium. AquaClass guests receive complimentary access to the SEA Thermal Suite, among other complimentary amenities

• The first line of ELEMIS BIOTEC facials ever offered on a Celebrity ship

• A specialty treatment table collection that's unrivaled at sea, including:

• Spa Wave MLW Amphibia Table: A first at sea, water filled cushions adapt to guests' unique anatomy for the ultimate in comfort, as well as customizable color therapy lighting

• WellMassage4D Table: This award-winning treatment table, a Celebrity first, uses breakthrough technology to deliver a deeper and more relaxing massage

• MLX Quartz Table: Another Celebrity first, warm crystals mold and shape around the body, releasing muscle tension and promoting a deeper state of relaxation

• Ideal Image Ocean, The Advanced MedSpa, is another first at sea, offering esthetic services such as Dysport Wrinkle Treatments and Restylane Dermal Filler Treatments

• Celebrity will partner with Kérastase, one of the world's most advanced luxury haircare brands, to introduce the first ever Kérastase Institute at sea

• The Barber offers traditional hot shaves and fresh cuts for the modern man

• Guests can relive their experience at The Spa at home with the same luxurious products used in treatments on board found at the interactive ELEMIS Ingredient Wall, which gives insights into the advanced science and natural ingredients behind the Celebrity's line of ELEMIS products

• Ready to feel the burn? The Fitness Center will get those endorphins flowing with more Celebrity firsts, like hot yoga, Technogym Group Cycle, Fitness on Demand™, cardio boxing, the first Bungee Fit and Peloton bikes ever offered at sea

Celebrity Edge will spend her inaugural season sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruise itineraries before transporting guests to the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings from iconic cities like Barcelona and Rome in 2019.

Princess Cruises Releases South America 2019-2020 Cruise Vacations
Princess Cruises released its fall 2019 through spring 2020 season with 14 departures including voyages sailing to Antarctica. As part of the lineup, a 58-day South America voyage circumnavigates the continent and offers the opportunity to visit icons of the region, including Easter Island, Rio's Carnival, Machu Picchu, Iguazú Falls, Patagonia and more.

Coral Princess and Island Princess cover the entire continent for the 2019-2020 season, featuring three departures to the Antarctic Peninsula for scenic cruising, departing aboard Coral Princess December 20, 2019, January 5 and 21, 2020.

Itinerary highlights for the 2019-2020 South America season include:

• Two ships – Island Princess and the maiden season to South America for sister ship Coral Princess.

• Three departures on Coral Princess between Buenos Aires and Santiago including scenic cruising of the Antarctica Peninsula.

• A choice of 14 departures, visiting 31 destinations in 18 countries departing from Ft. Lauderdale, Santiago or Buenos Aires from December 2019 through March 2020.

• Nine itineraries, ranging in length from 14 to 58 days.

• Overnight stays in Lima (Callao), Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

• Opportunities to visit to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

"South America is a highly-desired destination for our guests with so many landmarks and cultures to explore," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "This upcoming season also marks our return to Antarctica which we know is a huge draw for travel seekers and has been voted a top place to visit."

Guests also can choose to book a pre- or post-cruise land tours, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites Iguazú National Park in both Brazil and Argentina or discover the "Hidden City of the Incas" in Machu Picchu, Peru.

Paul Gauguin Cruises Offers Stewards Of Nature Family Program
Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, is offering a way for families to explore Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific together this summer and during the holidays through a joint program with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

The South Pacific is more than a dream destination; it is also a fascinating getaway where families can share activities, strengthen bonds, and create memories to last a lifetime. Through Paul Gauguin Cruises' partnership with WCS, the Stewards of Nature family program invites children and teens ages 7-17, as well as family members, to discover and value nature through hands-on, interactive learning.

Every day of the voyage, there is a combination of naturalist-led island and/or beach excursions, science activities, crafts, games, and other adventures. Depending on the itinerary, children might learn about underwater life during a snorkeling excursion, observe the ocean or the stars through binoculars or an onboard telescope, and learn about different kinds of marine life and their habitats. Other activities include going on a dolphin-watching expedition, swimming with sharks and rays, playing beach games, enjoying a Tahitian dance performance on board, and learning what it means to be a Steward of Nature.

All of the activities with the program are included for children and teens through a nominal fee ($349-$399, depending on length of voyage). Family members are invited and encouraged to participate in most activities for the additional cost of the shore excursions.

The Stewards of Nature family program is available on the following voyages:

7-Night Tahiti & the Society Islands

• June 16, 2018

• June 23, 2018

• July 28, 2018

• December 22, 2018 (Holiday Cruise)

• December 29, 2018 (Holiday Cruise)

7-Night Society Islands & Tahiti Iti

• June 30, 2018

10-Night Society Islands & Tuamotus

• June 6, 2018

• July 18, 2018

11-Night Cook Islands & Society Islands

• July 7, 2018

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.77 - 0.08%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 107.22 + 0.08%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.67 + 5.03%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.22 + 3.50%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name given to the popular transatlantic route between New York, Algeciras, Naples, Genoa and Cannes and what ships were best known for making this trip?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
This week we have another visual Cruise Trivia Question. The picture below was featured in a cruise brochure from the 1960's. Name the ship.

Answer - The picture in this week's trivia contest is the SS Rotterdam (Rotterdam V) just outside the Sky Room on the open deck at the top of the ship.
courtesy of Bill Forsstrom, Cincinnati,OH


Cruise News - May 14, 2018

Seabourn Ovation Launched
Seabourn Ovation was officially launched on May 11 at a naming ceremony in Valletta, Malta, to commemorate its entry into service for the Seabourn fleet. One of the world's most highly-acclaimed actresses and singers, Elaine Paige, served as godmother and named the ship during a ceremony that lit up the UNESCO World Heritage site and the 2018 European Capital of Culture.

Seabourn Ovation was delivered on April 27 during an official handover ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Following the delivery ceremony, Seabourn Ovation began her maiden season with an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5 from Venice, Italy, and culminating with its arrival in Barcelona, Spain.

Seabourn Ovation will expand and build on the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. A sister ship to Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation features 300 all-oceanfront suites and maintains the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service.

Seabourn Ovation was fashioned by notable hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany with contemporary interiors, modern design elements and innovations consistent with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance. Tihany's vision has delivered the world's finest ultra-luxury resort that happens to traverse the oceans of the world. The new ship will round out the current planned expansion of the line's award-winning, newest and most consistent fleet in the ultra-luxury segment.

The fifth all-suite ship in the Seabourn fleet, Seabourn Ovation offers a number of in-suite amenities to provide guests with a "home away from home" onboard experience, including a private veranda in every luxurious suite. Featuring striking design and sophisticated décor, each suite will include a comfortable living area, elegant bedding, a walk-in closet, in-suite entertainment options and a marble bathroom with separate bath and shower, and luxury bath products, including the exclusive Seabourn Signature Scents by Molton Brown.

Guests who sail on Seabourn Ovation will also find a number of innovative offerings and programs, including partnerships with a select group of companies and individuals whose dedication to superior quality, exceptional service and consistent customer satisfaction matches Seabourn.

These programs include "An Evening with Tim Rice," the evening entertainment experience created exclusively for the line in association with Belinda King Creative Productions; Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being; and The Grill by Thomas Keller, reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 1950s and 1960s. Exclusive to Seabourn, The Grill is a unique culinary concept for Chef Keller, focusing on updated versions of iconic dishes.

Seabourn Ovation will spend the majority of its maiden season cruising the waters of Northern Europe, offering a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian sailings between Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles. Select sailings will also include the Ventures by Seabourn program, which are optional for-charge expedition-style excursions featuring a team of experts, Zodiacs and kayaks with a focus on allowing guests to experience nature up close.

Viking Celebrates Float Out Of Sixth Ship
Viking today announced its sixth ship – the 930-guest Viking Jupiter – was "floated out," marking a major construction milestone and the first time that the new ship touched water. Scheduled for delivery in early 2019, the arrival of Viking Jupiter will officially make Viking the largest small ship ocean cruise line in the industry, only four years after launching its ocean business. Named in honor of the planet Jupiter, the ship will spend her maiden season sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

"It is always a proud moment when a new ship touches water for the first time and is one step closer to welcoming guests onboard," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "As a Norwegian native, I am also particularly proud to announce today Sissel Kyrkjebø, my mother's favorite singer and a longtime Viking partner, will be honored as godmother to Viking Jupiter and will preside over the ship's naming ceremony in Oslo, Norway in June 2019."

The traditional float out ceremony took place at the Fincantieri's Ancona shipyard and is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. Viking Jupiter's float out began at approximately 11:30 a.m. local time and in keeping with maritime tradition, a madrina – a special woman of honor – assisted with the ceremony, first welding commemorative coins under the ship mast. Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø, who is widely considered one of the world's top crossover sopranos and who has long been a cultural partner to Viking, served as Viking Jupiter's madrina. She welded a commemorative coin representing her birth year, as well as the birth years for Chairman Hagen (1943) and Finse (2012), Hagen's "grand dog." A special coin, dated 1911, was also welded to represent Ragnhild "Mamsen" Hagen, the mother of Chairman Hagen and the woman after whom the onboard Norwegian deli Mamsen's is named. Kyrkjebø then cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock. Following a two-day process that will set Viking Jupiter afloat, the ship will then be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, have 465 staterooms and host 930 guests. Classified by Cruise Critic as a "small ship," the all-veranda Viking Jupiter will join Viking's award-winning ocean fleet, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky and Viking Sun. Viking will welcome its fifth ship, Viking Orion, to the fleet in June 2018. Ten additional ships are also planned for delivery starting in 2021, which could bring Viking's ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027.

Carnival To Offer Three Longer Length Carnival Journeys Sailings In 2019, Including 24-Day Trans-Pacific Crossing
As Carnival Cruise Line continues to expand its itinerary offerings, the company today announced that it will offer three special longer length Carnival Journeys cruises in 2019.

The voyages include a unique 24-day trans-Pacific crossing aboard Carnival Splendor from Long Beach to Singapore, as well as two voyages aboard Carnival Miracle – a 13-day Panama Canal transit from Tampa to Long Beach and a 14-day Hawaii cruise round-trip from Long Beach.

The 24-day voyage is the longest single departure in Carnival Cruise Line's history and marks the first time that the line will visit Guam, Vietnam and Malaysia on a North American departure.

In addition to visiting some of the world's most beautiful destinations, guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique on-board activities during which they can sample local cuisine and enjoy entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on topics such as photography, cooking, arts and crafts and celestial navigation, along with a 1980s-themed "Throwback Sea Day," are also offered.

"We're delighted to expand upon our itinerary choices with these three exciting Carnival Journeys, including an unforgettable 24-day voyage trans-Pacific transit featuring our first-ever calls to spectacular ports in the Far East," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The 3,012-passenger Carnival Splendor will operate an unprecedented 24-day trans-Pacific crossing that will depart Long Beach, Calif., on Oct. 5 and arrive in Singapore Oct. 30, 2019.

The voyage will feature extended port calls at Maui and Honolulu, Hawaii, before crossing the International Date Line, then visit Guam, and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – the first time the line has visited these destinations on a ship departing from North America. On this fantastic seagoing adventure guests can visit ancient temples and other centuries-old landmarks and attractions and immerse themselves in Far East culture.

The 24-day voyage will also offer a traditional ceremony held when mariners cross the International Date Line which essentially adds an extra day to the cruise.

Carnival Miracle will operate a 13-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal transit that will depart Tampa Sept. 29 and arrive in Long Beach Oct. 12, 2019, positioning the vessel for a series of seven- and 14-day cruises from that port.

The 13-day cruise will include an overnight stay in Cartagena, Colombia; prior to the Panama Canal transit followed by calls at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, all home to magnificent architecture and unforgettable shopping, dining and cultural experiences.

Carnival Miracle will operate a 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise to Hawaii round-trip from Long Beach Oct. 19 to Nov. 2, 2019, featuring stops at four breathtaking destinations within the Aloha State – Maui, Honolulu, Kona and Hilo – along with a call at Ensenada, Mexico. On this cruise, guests can enjoy world-class beaches, savor local cuisine, explore the lush Hawaiian countryside and get an "up close and personal look" at colorful Polynesian culture.

The ship will also offer a series of seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach beginning Oct. 12, 2019. The week-long voyages visit Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, all home to gorgeous white-sand beaches, excellent snorkeling and a variety of water sports.

Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Kicks Off 2018 Transatlantic Season
On May 17, 2018 Cunard's flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 returns to her homeport of New York for her 2018 Transatlantic Season. Following another successful World Cruise season, QM2 will resume her regularly-scheduled service across the Atlantic, a route that began 178 years ago.

Now more than ever, Queen Mary 2's Transatlantic Crossing offers travelers a unique and precious escape from day to day life. Traveling leisurely by sea between New York and England, for seven nights in the North Atlantic, passengers have the time and luxury to dive deeper into their passions and crafts, to explore creative expression, and to hone personal and professional projects that range from journal writing and sketching, to polishing screenplays, musical scores, and more.

Celebrities, writers and artists who have made the most of QM2's Transatlantic Crossings include songwriter, music producer, and actor Ed Sheeran who sailed from New York to England and wrote parts of his latest hit album "Divide;" filmmaking director and screenwriter Wes Anderson, who wrote much of his movie "Isle of Dogs;" and legend Francis Ford Coppola who boarded the liner to put the final touches on his book "The Godfather Notebook."

"Over the past year, Cunard has seen an incredible demand for our product and experience from regions around the world, with double-digit growth within the North American market," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president of Cunard North America. "The unique opportunity to step away from day to day life and feel inspired, enriched, and revitalized is one of the reasons passenger feedback continues to be among the best in the industry."

Not only are celebrities and artists fans of Cunard, but royalty has an affinity for QM2 as well. Christened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2004, Queen Mary 2 has hosted numerous royals on board and is excited to play an integral role in rising tourism to the UK this summer as travelers head to London to get a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding site, tour St. Mary's Hospital, where the newest prince was just born, and enjoy the excitement that a new generation of royals ushers in.

Passengers find plenty of room to unwind and feel rejuvenated as they encounter new, surprising pursuits, people, and places. Guests can choose from a multitude of fascinating activities onboard Cunard's three Queens, from wine tasting and cocktail mixology, to painting, fencing, and ballroom dancing lessons, to exploring the largest library afloat, or pondering the mysteries of the universe in the only planetarium at sea.

Cunard's Insights program offers fascinating experts from various industries on every voyage, holding workshops and Q&As throughout the trip. This year Cunard is offering extraordinary special event Crossings throughout the season including collaborations with Ancestry.com, NY Fashion Week, and International Space Week.

QM2 passengers are also thrilled at the opportunity to travel with their four-legged companions onboard the Queen Mary 2, the only ship with kennels on board for dogs and cats.

For those eager to enjoy the elusive luxury of time, Queen Mary 2 will embark on 24 Transatlantic Crossings from May through December this year.

Azamara Unveils 2020 Itineraries
Azamara Club Cruises' today announced their 2020 itineraries. In 2020, guests will explore deeper into newly added destinations including South Africa, French Polynesia and Hawaii. With a total of 92 individual cruises across the three ships, Azamara will offer 41 maiden ports, 303 late night stays, 170 overnight stays and 40 country-intensive voyages, where guests can explore numerous ports within one country and stay late or overnight in most cities.

Azamara's carefully crafted 2020 itineraries emphasize spending more time in port, enabling travelers to explore beyond the initial layers of a city and fully immerse themselves in the destination. In addition, Azamara will also unveil new Land and Sea packages hosted by Micato Safaris, a luxury safari outfitter that will further enhance the brand's immersive land products.

"Our guests spoke and we listened; the addition of our third ship, the Azamara Pursuit, has allowed us to expand our footprint across all seven continents, bringing guests to new destinations, new experiences, and new opportunities," said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "In 2020, Azamara will offer a total of 473 late night and overnight stays, a 12% percent increase from 2019, which will allow us to provide our guests with the opportunity to experience night touring at some of the most compelling destinations."

South Africa/African Continent and South Pacific Itineraries

Azamara will be expanding its global coverage by calling in South Africa and the African Continent for the first time. Each voyage will offer an exceptional variety of immersive land programs that take travelers to the heart of Zulu culture, South Africa's most famous wine region, and beyond.

The new South Africa itineraries will coincide with pre-and post-cruise packages from Micato Safaris. Azamara and Micato both embody a similar love of travel, exploration and value creating one-of-a-kind experiences for travelers. Highlights include 30 departures of the two following tours:

• Five-Night Kruger to Cape: A Wildlife & Culinary Safari (offered pre-or post-Azamara voyage) Before embarking on a voyage with Azamara, meet the Micato team in Johannesburg for an exploration from Kruger to Cape Town with stops along the way at a notable game reserve and a visit to the Western Cape, known for its world class wines and top-quality restaurants; an experience that will delight the senses.

• Five-Night Wild Wonders of the World - Victoria Falls & Botswana Safari (offered pre-or post-Azamara Voyage): Travel through Zimbabwe to Botswana to experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls. This expedition also includes a dawn game drive through Botswana's Chobe Game Reserve and an optional helicopter tour of the falls.

In addition to the extensions by Micato Safaris, Azamara continues to expand its extensive Destination Immersion programing (guests can step on land as an insider, and travel deeper, beyond the initial layers of a city across Africa by adding a diverse selection of shore excursions including:

• Cruise Global, Stay Local - Kenya: On this overnight excursion, travelers will fly past Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa – and over the Great Rift Valley to Kenya's renowned game reserve, Masai Mara, where they will spend the night at the Neptune Mara Rianta Luxury Camp, located along the Mara River. The excursion includes two game viewing drives in search of elephant, lions, rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes and more.

• Cruise Global, Meet Local – South Africa: On a day trip to Shakaland – a living monument of Zulu culture – travelers will be met by a Zulu guide who will act as an interpreter as he leads them through the village. Guests will learn how to make a sword and shield as well as build a traditional Zulu "beehive" grass hut.

• Cruise Global, Taste Local – South Africa: Departing from Cape Town, the excursion will take travelers to the Paarl region – one of South Africa's most famous wine-producing areas – for a formal vino tasting at a wine estate. Following, guests will pay a visit to Haute Cabrière – founded in 1694 and situated on opposite ends of the breathtaking Franschoek – where visitors will get to experience a deep passion for wine as well as a pairing comprised of two farms.

The 2020 itineraries will also feature an 18-night maiden voyage to French Polynesia and Hawaii, visiting some of the most unique Hawaiian Islands (Maui, Oahu and Hilo). During this voyage guests can shop for bright Polynesian silk wrap or shop for items with Tahitian black pearls, an organic gem only found in that region and formed from the black lip oyster. Some of the land experiences guests can participate in include:

• Cruise Global, Eco Local – French Polynesia: Join a marine biologist in this ecotourism and research project on wild, free-ranging dolphins. Learn about the geology of French Polynesia while viewing the dramatic beauty of Moorea from the water. Spinner dolphins, rough-tooth dolphins and pilot whales are seen around Moorea, while an excellent commentary provides details on the remarkable life and society of these wonderful mammals.

• Cruise Global, Adventure Local - Hawaii: Embark on an underwater exploration of Maui onboard a high-tech passenger submarine. The expedition will pass the "Brig Carthaginian," a sunken ship built in the 1920s that now acts as an artificial reef off of the coast of Maui's Puamana Beach Park.

Specialty Voyages

In addition to adding new destinations and immersive land experiences to its offerings, Azamara's 2020 itineraries will feature an assortment of specialty voyages including the following:

• Nearly half of Azamara's 2020 itineraries will include country-intensive voyages, giving travelers the opportunity to connect to the authentic heart of local life and culture. The new country intensive sailings include Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, and South Africa.

• For the first time, Azamara's three sister ships will meet on October 8, 2020 in Koper, Slovenia, where the cruise line will host a grand AzAmazing Evening in port for all guests on all three ships, and then sail together to Venice.

• Azamara's holiday and Christmas sailings provide the opportunity to take part in celebrations around the world including ringing in the New Year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Cape Town, South Africa.

• On February 20, 2020, the Azamara Quest will be embarking on the brand's second World Journey from Cape Town to Southampton.

• The Triple Tour is a 42-night voyage starting May 26, 2020 from Athens to Copenhagen, allowing guests to sail on all three ships and get an in-depth experience with crew members across the entire fleet, all on one epic voyage. More details on the Triple Tour will be available in early Summer of 2018.

New Stateroom Category:

Starting in 2020, Azamara will offer guests a more inclusive stateroom category called Veranda Plus. The new accommodation will have the same dimensions and features as a regular Veranda stateroom, for a slightly higher cost, but include additional benefits such as: internet minutes, one night of specialty dining, priority embarkation and more. All of these amenities have been built in price, which will provide a value for guests, versus buying individually.

Princess and the Original Cast of "The Love Boat" Receive Hollywood Walk of Fame Honorary Star Plaque
Princess Cruises and the original cast of the "The Love Boat" were presented a Hollywood Walk of Fame honorary star plaque today in recognition of their contributions to the history of television and support for the preservation of the Walk of Fame. Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Jill Whelan (Vicki), Ted Lange (Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Fred Grandy (Gopher) were joined by Leron Gubler, CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Donelle Dadigan, co-chair of the Hollywood Historic Trust, the superintendent of the world-famous walk and Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises. The honorary star plaque is located on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the main entrance to the Dolby Theater.

"The Love Boat" premiered just over 40 years ago (May 1977), set aboard a cruise ship, featuring stories of romance, hijinks and adventure on the high seas that involved characters portrayed by Hollywood's biggest stars of the day. After the pilot show, "The Love Boat" show went on to enjoy phenomenal success, continuing for 10 seasons until 1987 as one of the highest-rated, prime-time television shows in the country. Princess Cruises soon became a household name as the primary setting and co-star of the popular series, and continues to be known as the "Love Boat" cruise line today. Pacific Princess and Island Princess were the two original ships but as the show grew in popularity "The Love Boat" was filmed aboard many Princess ships at exotic destinations around the globe.

"Today marks another extraordinary day in the history of Princess Cruises. We are honored to be recognized, along with the original cast of the 'Love Boat,' as Friends of the Walk of Fame in support of the preservation of this iconic attraction that draws nearly 10 million visitors each year," remarked Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "The 'Love Boat' opened the hearts and minds of millions of television viewers to the adventures of cruise travel by way of the exotic destination our ships visited on the show. Today, our guests continue to create lasting memories and explore the world on our modern, fleet of 17 premium cruise ships."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.82 + 3.00%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 107.13 + 1.97%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.59 + 4.61%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 51.42 + 2.21%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
This week we have another visual Cruise Trivia Question. The picture below was featured in a cruise brochure from the 1960's. Name the ship.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Name the former liners that were sold to the Iranian government for use as accommodation ships in the 1970's?

Answer - These liners were the MICHELANGELO and RAFFAELLO of ITALIA S.p.A. They were used after the revolution as marine "hotels" for the crew of the marine of Iran. During the war against Iraq the RAFFAELLO was destroied by bombs. The MICHELANGELO was towed to the breakers because she had been in too bad condition.
courtesy of Gerd W|sthoff


Cruise News - May 7, 2018

Ruptured Water Line Floods Hallway On Carnival Dream
A ruptured water line caused flooding of a hallway on board Carnival Dream last Thursday during a 7-day Caribbean cruise out of New Orleans. Carnival said that the cruise continued uninterrupted after the water line break and that it returned to its homeport of New Orleans as scheduled on Sunday.

In a statement, Carnival said that the water line break had no effect on the safe operation of the ship and that the safety and security of its guests and crew is a top priority.

In the statement, the cruise line noted that the water line break occurred at 6:00 p.m. and within six hours, the crew had replaced hall and stateroom carpeting, dried out other sections of carpeting that were damp but did not need to be replaced, and restored the 50 staterooms so that all guests could sleep in their beds that evening. There were a handful of guests that chose to sleep elsewhere that first night and we moved mattresses to the spa for them.

Carnival said that it provided a full refund and a future cruise credit as a goodwill gesture to the 100 passengers affected. The company said that it offered to fly the impacted guests home at their expense if they wanted to disembark early and only two of the nearly 100 guests that received the offer chose to do so. Most of the guests on board were not even aware of the incident until the last 24 hours as word circulated and our passengers heard from friends and family who saw media reports.

Norwegian Bliss Makes Her U.S. Debut In New York City
Norwegian Cruise Line debuted the highly-anticipated Norwegian Bliss, the sixteenth ship of the young and modern fleet, in New York City on Thursday, May 3. Amidst a sea of excitement and celebration, her arrival into the U.S. marks the beginning of a month-long inaugural celebration with her next stops in Miami, Los Angeles and lastly Seattle, where she will officially be christened on May 30.

Norwegian Bliss kicked off her two-day inaugural preview in New York City with brand partners, key media and industry representatives on Friday, May 4. Among the guests were Norwegian Bliss' Godfather, Elvis Duran and the cast from the Z100 morning show who broadcasted live from the ship enlightening guests on all the experiences the ship has to offer. Throughout the day, guests were able to explore the ship, sample the cruise line's newest culinary innovations, and experience all the amenities, including the longest go-kart race track at sea, the newly designed water slides, and an open-air laser tag arena. Additionally, Elvis Duran brought on indie-pop band, AJR, to give a special performance on board Norwegian Bliss. Later in the day, president and chief executive officer, Andy Stuart, presented Elvis Duran with a six-foot long model of Norwegian Bliss.

On the evening of May 4, following the Norwegian Cruise Line original musical theater show - ¡HAVANA! - Grammy-award winning singer, Albita, performed an exclusive show for guests in the Bliss Theater. One deck below, guests were kicking up their boots and enjoying country tunes by Camille Rae and her band at Q, the new Texas Smokehouse Barbecue restaurant on Norwegian Bliss.

Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio, two of the original members of The Four Seasons, which the Tony award-winning musical Jersey Boys is based on, made a special appearance at an intimate cocktail reception in the expansive Horizon Lounge in The Haven, home to the most luxurious, well-appointed and spacious accommodations, complete with a private lounge, courtyard and observation area. Following the event, they enjoyed the Norwegian Bliss premier of Jersey Boys in Bliss Theater.

"Norwegian has been committed to providing our guests with the finest entertainment at sea and we have elevated this commitment by introducing Jersey Boys and ¡HAVANA! on board Norwegian Bliss," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. "It has been such an honor to have icons in the music and theater world partner with and join us on this inaugural tour."

Norwegian Bliss departed the Big Apple yesterday morning and is cruising down to Miami for her next stop on her inaugural U.S. tour. During her preview cruise out of PortMiami, May 8 to 10, special guests will include the hull artist, Wyland, Godfather, Elvis Duran and members of The Morning Show, and celebrity car guru and host of Discovery Channel's The Auto Firm, Alex Vega, who outfitted two of the Norwegian Bliss go-carts for the largest race track at sea.

Following her stop in Miami she will cruise to Los Angeles, California, and be the largest cruise ship to cross through the Panama Canal. Preview events will take place from May 25 to 27, before making her voyage to Seattle, Washington arriving on May 30 for her official christening ceremony and then embarking on a three-day exhibition cruise.

Beginning June 2, Norwegian Bliss will cruise seven-day voyages to Alaska from Seattle with featured calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia. She will then cruise select voyages to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles and for her fall/winter season, she will sail to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami. In 2019, she will return to New York City and sail seven-day voyages to the Bahamas and Florida, the Southern and Western Caribbean.

Carnival Legend To Reposition To Tampa In 2019
Carnival Cruise Line has announced that the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend will reposition to Port Tampa Bay in October 2019, providing consumers with an exciting seagoing vacation choice in that market.

Carnival Legend is undergoing an extensive two-week-long dry dock that is taking place in Portland, Ore. and is adding a variety of popular food and beverage concepts. These include Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, and the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina. Enhancements to Camp Ocean, a marine-themed kids play area, and Circle “C” catering to 12- to 14-year-olds, as well as the ship’s retail shopping outlets, are also being incorporated.

Following the dry dock, Carnival Legend will operate a summer 2018 schedule of seven-day Alaska cruises from Seattle, then reposition to Australia with a series of departures from Sydney and Melbourne in the fall and winter. In summer 2019 she will return to Seattle for another series of seven-day Alaska cruises before moving to Tampa in the fall of 2019.

Prior to its Tampa deployment, Carnival Legend will also operate a series of longer-length Carnival Journeys voyages in 2019, including a nine-day Alaska cruise from Vancouver, a 16-day Hawaii voyage from Vancouver and 15-day Panama Canal transit that begins in Los Angeles and ends in Tampa, positioning the vessel for its new schedule from that port.

In addition to visiting some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique on-board activities during which they can sample local cuisine and enjoy entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on topics such as photography, cooking, arts and crafts and celestial navigation, along with a 1980s-themed “Throwback Sea Day,” are also offered.

“At Carnival, we encourage our guests to Choose Fun and with these voyages aboard the newly refurbished Carnival Legend we’re providing our guests with a broad spectrum of exciting cruise options featuring sought-after destinations and unique experiences ashore,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Following its 2019 Alaska season, Carnival Legend will operate a 15-day Panama Canal cruise that will begin in Los Angeles Oct. 12 and end in Tampa Oct. 27, 2019, positioning the vessel to assume week-long Caribbean sailings currently operated by Carnival Miracle which will be positioned to another homeport to be announced shortly. The 15-day Panama Canal cruise will feature Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala), Puntarenas (Costa Rica), before transiting the Panama Canal followed by stops at Cartagena and Santa Marta (Colombia) and Grand Cayman.

Carnival Legend’s seven-day schedule from Tampa kicks off Oct. 27, 2019 and includes visits to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Mahogany Bay and Belize or Costa Maya. On Jan. 25, 2020, the ship will also offer a special eight-day voyage that includes a partial transit of the Panama Canal as well as port calls at Limon and Grand Cayman.

Carnival Legend will also operate a round-trip 14-day Panama Canal cruise from Tampa Dec. 1-15, 2019. The voyage will feature stops at Cozumel and Limon (Costa Rica) before transiting the Panama Canal, then visit Cartagena, Aruba, Curacao and Grand Cayman.

Carnival Legend will operate a unique nine-day Alaska cruise round-trip from Vancouver Sept. 17-26, 2019, featuring a day-long call at Icy Strait Point, an unspoiled wilderness area offering some of the best whale and bear watching in the state and the world’s longest zip-line, followed by an extended sail of Glacier Bay and the popular Alaskan ports of Sitka, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.

The ship will also operate a 16-day Hawaii voyage departing Vancouver Sept. 26 and arriving in Los Angeles Oct. 12, 2019. The voyage includes extended visits to four of the Aloha State’s most popular destinations, including Hilo, Maui, Kona, Kauai, and Honolulu, with opportunities for guests to get an “up close and personal” look at one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations.

Norwegian Sun Sails On Inaugural Voyage From Port Canaveral to Cuba
The growth of cruising from Port Canaveral hit another milestone as the Norwegian Sun sailed out of the Port on its inaugural voyage to Havana, Cuba today. Fresh out of dry dock enhancement, Norwegian Sun returned to Port Canaveral to begin her homeport Summer 2018 sailing season. The Norwegian Sun called Port Canaveral home for two years, from 2010 to 2012. The ship will be berthed at the Port's recently remodeled Cruise Terminal 10, in which the Port invested more than $35 million in renovations. The new Norwegian Cruise Line sailing options -- four-night itinerary to Havana, Cuba and Key West a three-night itinerary to the Bahamas --marks the first time a homeported cruise ship has sailed from Port Canaveral to Cuba.

“We are excited to welcome back Norwegian Sun to Port Canaveral for these new voyages to Havana, Cuba,” said Port CEO Captain John Murray. “We’re proud of our partnership with Norwegian Cruise Lines and pleased to be hosting these new sailing opportunities for cruise guests this summer season.”

“Port Canaveral was the ideal location to offer our guests a value-rich on board experience and exciting action-packed ports-of-call, including an overnight call in Havana, Cuba,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line.

Aboard the Norwegian Sun, Captain Teo Grbic was presented with a plaque welcoming the ship’s return to Port Canaveral. The plaque was presented by Capt. John Murray and Canaveral Port Authority Chairman Wayne Justice.

“We are honored that Norwegian Cruise Line has selected Port Canaveral to offer cruises to Havana, Cuba and excited for the traveling community that this new destination is now available,” said Canaveral Port Authority Chairman Wayne Justice. “Today’s embarkation to Cuba validates the Port’s ongoing investments in state-of-the-art facilities and continuous improvement in cruise operations, earning the confidence of some of the world’s most successful cruise brands.”

Norwegian Sun’s four-day cruise to Cuba will depart Port Canaveral each Monday and features a call on Key West and an overnight stay in Havana, returning to Port Canaveral each Friday. In Havana, Norwegian Sun will transport guests to Havana Harbor, located in the heart of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site. NCL will offer guests the opportunity to experience the wonderful culture and history of Cuba with OFAC (U.S.Treasury Office of Foreign Assets)-compliant shore excursions.

Norwegian Sun’s three-day cruise to the Bahamas departs Port Canaveral each Friday and features calls in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island beach with recently enhanced food and beverage outlets, cabanas and underwater snorkeling.

The 78,309 gross-ton ship, built in 2001, recently underwent an extensive dry-dock refurbishment. The newly freshened 1,936 passenger cruise vessel offers 14 dining options, bars and lounges, onboard shopping, spa and entertainment. All guests sailing aboard the Norwegian Sun's Cuba or Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral will enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages included in their cruise fare as a part of the ship's all-inclusive program.

Carnival Opens Helix Cruise Center At Port Of Barcelona
Carnival Corporation today officially opened its second cruise terminal at the Port of Barcelona with an inauguration ceremony attended by government, business and community representatives. The ceremony included Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation; Julio Gómez-Pomar Rodríguez, secretary of state for infrastructures, transport and housing for the government of Spain; Enric Millo, government delegate in Catalonia; Ricard Font, secretary of infrastructure and mobility for the government of Catalonia; Agustí Colom, councilor of tourism, commerce and markets for the Barcelona City Council; Jose Llorca, chairman of Puertos del Estado; and Sixte Cambra, president of the Port of Barcelona.

During the ceremony, the company revealed that Helix cruise center will be the name of its new 12,500 square meter state-of-the-art terminal. At over 46 million euros, the Helix terminal and the company's existing terminal at the port represent Carnival Corporation's largest combined terminal investment in Europe.

Designed by Catalan architecture firm Batlle i Roig Arquitectura, the company's newest cruise terminal reflects modern and graceful architectural style with straight lines, creating a contemporary and comfortable guest environment designed to enhance the embarkation and disembarkation process for cruise guests.

Also making its debut shortly will be the port's first public parking facility, providing guests embarking on cruises with access to nearly 300 parking spaces. In addition, the Helix terminal will accommodate Carnival Corporation's new class of next-generation "green" cruise ships that will be fully operated by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel.

"After years of working closely with our extraordinary partners in Barcelona, including the port, its support network of local businesses and the city, we are absolutely thrilled to introduce our world-class Helix cruise center to welcome guests from around the world to Europe's best-loved cruise port and to Barcelona, one of the world's greatest cities and regions," said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global ports and destination development for Carnival Corporation. "As the world's largest cruise company with more than 100 ships that sail to over 700 destinations across the globe, our goal is to provide our guests with extraordinary vacations, and we are confident that our new terminal will help us enhance the overall experience for our guests. The terminal stands as a tribute to the remarkable appeal of Barcelona and the entire country as one of the world's most beautiful, vibrant and compelling destinations. We are proud of the work that has been accomplished together with the port, city, government, business and community. We now look forward to working with the port of Barcelona and its community partners to make the cruise terminal a highly efficient and customer-friendly operation."

"We have a long history of working with Carnival Corporation and its cruise line brands," said Cambra, president of Port of Barcelona. "We appreciate their strong commitment to our great port, city and region, and we are excited about the new Helix cruise center, which is already earning rave reviews as one of the world's most spectacular cruise terminals. We appreciated the opportunity to work closely with Carnival Corporation. In every aspect, and particularly in its innovative and sustainable approach, this is a world-class cruise terminal that further enhances our reputation as one of the best ports in the world."

"In a city and region known for its inspiring and beautiful architecture, it is exciting to have Carnival Corporation's stunning Helix cruise center grace the Port of Barcelona as our newest landmark," said Font, secretary of infrastructure and mobility for the government of Catalonia. "We appreciate Carnival Corporation having such a positive impact on our local economy and employment and for making such a significant investment in our region – the company's commitment underscores our shared enthusiasm that Barcelona will always be one of the top destinations in the world."

"Barcelona needs operators strongly committed to its visitors, but also to the city," said Colom, councilor of tourism, commerce and markets for the Barcelona City Council. "We need operators with whom we can work side by side to improve the sustainability and the social return that tourist activity generates in the city, reducing to the maximum its externalities. We are already collaborating with the port and the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) in this direction, and it will be essential to also have the active involvement of important cruise line operators, such as Carnival Corporation, who have clearly opted for Barcelona, to have a port for the city, more straightforward, open and much more citizen."

The Helix cruise center, located on the port's Adossat wharf, is a tribute to extraordinary local expertise, talent and vision, as Carnival Corporation teamed with local officials and companies to design and build one of the world's most spectacular and functional cruise terminals.

Eight brands from Carnival Corporation – AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O Cruises (UK) – visit Barcelona throughout the year, with six of those eight brands operating full or partial homeporting in Barcelona in 2018. Carnival Corporation is expecting to accommodate over one million passenger movements at the port in 2018, with 289 calls by 38 different ships.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 62.93 - 0.21%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 105.06 - 2.89%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.52 + 5.56%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 50.31 - 5.91%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the former liners that were sold to the Iranian government for use as accommodation ships in the 1970's?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former White Star liner retained her original White Star name (ending in -ic) and funnel colors well after the two lines merged in 1934 until she was retired in late 1960?

Answer - The ship you speak of was the M/V Britannic, third White Star liner to bear that name and sister to the Georgic. Noted for their "low profile", these ships were sleek and popular.
courtesy of Shawn Ladd, Chicago, IL


Cruise News - April 30, 2018

Seabourn Takes Delivery Of Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn took delivery of its newest ship, Seabourn Ovation, today during an official handover ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Seabourn Ovation is the fifth ship in the line's award-winning fleet and the newest ship in the industry.

"We are delighted to take delivery of Seabourn Ovation, offering yet another reason for luxury travelers around the world to choose us for their next holiday," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "It has been an incredible journey to see the ship come to life, and the Fincantieri team has done a fantastic job in the construction of the ship. The combination of Adam Tihany's design vision and Fincantieri's fine craftsmanship have resulted in yet another stunning creation. We are very proud to welcome her to the Seabourn family."

Said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri: "It has been a great honor for all of us at Fincantieri to work with the Seabourn and Carnival Corporation teams to bring to life such a beautiful ship that in many ways is a true work of art. There was an extraordinary level of luxury elements and complexity involved in the construction of Seabourn Ovation, and as always our team of world-class ship builders rose to the occasion. It is with much pride that we hand over a ship that sets the new standard in ultra-luxury cruising, and it is exciting that Seabourn guests from around the world will soon be enjoying wonderful cruise holidays on this magnificent luxury vessel."

Seabourn Ovation will expand and build on the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. A sister ship to Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation features 300 all-oceanfront suites and maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service.

Seabourn Ovation was fashioned by notable hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany with contemporary interiors, modern design elements, and innovations consistent with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance. Tihany's vision has delivered the world's finest ultra-luxury resort that happens to traverse the oceans of the world. The new ship will round out the current planned expansion of the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed newest and most consistent fleet in the ultra-luxury segment.

The all-suite ship will offer a number of desirable in-suite amenities to provide guests with a "home away from home" onboard experience. In every luxurious suite will be a private veranda, providing sweeping oceanfront views and spacious enough for private al fresco dining. Featuring striking design and sophisticated décor, each suite will include a comfortable living area with sofa seating and a desk/dining table; elegant bedding; a walk-in closet; in-suite entertainment options with a wide selection of movies, music, broadcast television and radio channels; and a superbly-appointed marble bathroom with separate bath and shower and luxury bath products, including the exclusive Seabourn Signature Scents by Molton Brown. A personal bar and refrigerator will be stocked according to guest preferences, coordinated before arrival.

Guests who sail on Seabourn Ovation will also find a number of innovative offerings and programs, including partnerships with a select group of companies and individuals whose dedication to superior quality, exceptional service and consistent customer satisfaction matches Seabourn. These programs include 'An Evening with Tim Rice', the evening entertainment experience created exclusively for the line in association with Belinda King Creative Productions; Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being; and The Grill by Thomas Keller, reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 50's and 60's. Exclusive to Seabourn, The Grill is a unique culinary concept for Chef Keller, focusing on updated versions of iconic dishes. Guests will be treated to table-side preparations of Caesar salad and ice cream sundaes, as well as a range of other favorites like premium steaks, whole roasted chicken, and Lobster Thermidor, presented à la carte.

Seabourn Ovation will begin her maiden season with an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship's naming ceremony will take place on Friday, May 11, in the beautiful baroque harbour of Valletta, Malta. One of the world's highly-acclaimed actresses and singers, Elaine Paige, will serve as godmother and will name the ship during a spectacular ceremony that will light up the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site and the 2018 European Capital of Culture.

Royal Caribbean Reports Record First Quarter Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported record first quarter results and increased its outlook for the full year. The company reported first quarter US GAAP earnings of $1.02 per share and Adjusted earnings of $1.09 per share beating guidance due to better revenue. Full year Adjusted earnings guidance is increased by $0.15 to a range of $8.70 to $8.90 per share.

"This year is proving to be another strong year with all our brands firing on all cylinders," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO. "The market continues to support our growth as our people keep focused on delivering our targets and goals. The strength of this market plus our new ships in 2018 (Symphony of the Seas, Azamara Pursuit, Mein Schiff 1 and Celebrity Edge), position us nicely for 2019 as well."

FIRST QUARTER 2018

US GAAP Net Income for the first quarter of 2018 was $218.7 million or $1.02 per share and Adjusted Net Income was $232.8 million or $1.09 per share. Last year, US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income were $214.7 million or $0.99 per share. The improvement over last year and over previous guidance was mainly driven by better than expected revenue from our global brands and our joint ventures.

Gross Yields were up 3.1% and Net Yields were up 4.9% in Constant-Currency. Demand for our core products came in as expected, while demand for experiential related onboard products and activities was better than anticipated. Net Onboard revenue yields grew by 6.3% in Constant-Currency.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCD increased 5.0% in Constant-Currency. Net Cruise Costs ("NCC") excluding Fuel per APCD were up 11.2% in Constant-Currency, higher than guidance, driven by timing.

Bunker pricing net of hedging for the first quarter was $500.2 per metric ton and consumption was 320.6 metric tons.

"We are delighted to report another record breaking quarter and to be driving towards record earnings for the year, above our initial guidance," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "Revenues continue to excel and expenses, even including some new demand generating initiatives, continue to be carefully controlled."

During this quarter Royal Cariibbean said that it completed the $500 million share repurchase program authorized a year ago.

FULL YEAR 2018

Royal Cariibbean said that it has increased its forecast of full year Adjusted EPS to a range of $8.70 to $8.90 per share, $0.15 above the previous guidance.

The company's 2018 booked position is better than last year's record high and ahead in both volume and rate. All core products are generally in line with the company's previous expectations.

Royal Cariibbean said that it expects a Net Yield increase in the range of 2.0% to 3.75% in Constant-Currency and approximately 4.0% As-Reported for the full year.

NCC excluding Fuel are expected to be up approximately 2.5% in Constant-Currency and up 3.0% to 3.5% As-Reported. This revised cost guidance reflects some shifts related to our joint ventures that will be shown below the operating profit line versus above line. The updated guidance also reflects increased investments in demand generating activities.

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest and currency exchange rates, and the factors detailed above, Royal Cariibbean said that it estimates 2018 Adjusted EPS will be in the range of $8.70 to $8.90 per share.

SECOND QUARTER 2018

An unusually strong market in 2017 generated an unusually strong Net Yield increase of 11.5% during the second quarter of 2017. That, plus the timing of the Easter vacation period make for a tough year-over-year comparable. Nevertheless Royal Cariibbean said that it expects Constant-Currency Net Yields to be up in the range of 1.5% to 2.0% for the second quarter of 2018.

NCC Excluding Fuel are expected to be up approximately 5.0% in Constant-Currency. The elevated cost comparable for the quarter is the result of additional drydock days and further investments in the product and demand generating activities.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest and currency exchange rates, and the factors detailed above, Royal Cariibbean said that it expects second quarter Adjusted EPS to be $1.85 to $1.90 per share.

Norwegian Cruise Line Breaks Ground On New Terminal At PortMiami
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., which operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, today celebrated the groundbreaking of the new and dedicated Norwegian Cruise Line terminal at PortMiami. The Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners approved the project on April 10, 2018, with construction beginning May 1.

Present at the ceremony, which took place at PortMiami’s Terminal B, were Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, Howard Sherman, executive vice president of onboard revenue and destination services, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami-Dade County commissioner Rebeca Sosa, PortMiami director and chief executive officer Juan Kuryla, Florida State Representative Cynthia Stafford and leading executives from the architecture and construction firms on record, Bermello Ajamil & Partners and the NV2A-Haskell joint venture. The state-of-the-art terminal is scheduled for completion by the fall of 2019, as Norwegian Encore, the newest ship of the Breakaway Plus class, debuts in Miami with seasonal cruises to the Caribbean.

“This iconic terminal represents our continued partnership with Miami-Dade County, our commitment to excellence and Miami as a world capital,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.. “As a global cruise company we’re transforming and elevating guest experiences through design and innovation on our ships, and this new terminal at PortMiami is the next step in that journey. We are honored to be here today alongside the team dedicated to making this dream a reality.”

At nearly 166,500 square feet, the Norwegian terminal will accommodate ships of up to 5,000 passengers and will feature state-of-the-art technology to support faster and more efficient embarkation and disembarkation, as well as expedited security screening and luggage check-in. A dedicated lounge and service area will offer a warm and welcoming arrival for guests, and a new parking garage and valet parking area with direct access to the terminal will streamline the entire arrival and departure process for more efficiency.

“As Miami continues to develop as a global tourist destination, we view investing in PortMiami's infrastructure as imperative to sustainable growth," said Mayor Gimenez. "The construction of a new cruise terminal with the capacity to berth an additional 5,000-passenger cruise ship allows for the creation of thousands of jobs and increased opportunities for our community. We are eager to witness the incredible beauty the terminal will bring to our city skyline and grateful for Norwegian Cruise Line's steadfast partnership.”

Aside from improved functionality and efficiency, the terminal, which is being constructed to LEED-Silver standards, is set to be a modern architectural masterpiece and the new “pearl” of Miami’s stunning skyline. Drawing inspiration from the Fibonacci nautilus, a natural example of the golden ratio of perfection, the spiraled and multi-level façade, transcendental and glass-encased building offers stunning ocean views that embody the freedom and flexibility of the Norwegian cruising experience.

“We are incredibly honored to be working with Norwegian and PortMiami on this innovative project,” said Luis Ajamil, president and chief executive officer of Bermello Ajamil & Partners. “Having the opportunity to design a building that is sure to become an iconic Miami destination is very exciting, and we look forward to establishing the new standard for passenger comfort and experience.”

“NV2A and Haskell share a passion for construction and a commitment to excellence. As builders, we play an integral role and have great responsibility to the development and growth of the community,” said Agustin Arellano Sr., chairman of NV2A Group and board member of the NV2A-Haskell joint venture. “It is an honor and privilege to be part of a project that will have an everlasting impact on the city. We look forward to delivering this incredible new terminal for Norwegian Cruise Line, PortMiami and Miami-Dade County.”

Viking Announces Ultimate World Cruise
Viking today announced its most comprehensive itinerary to date with the new Ultimate World Cruise, which will span 245 days, six continents, 59 countries and 113 ports, with 22 port overnights and a full circumnavigation of the globe – making it the longest-ever continuous world cruise itinerary.

Departing from London on August 31, 2019 on Viking Sun, this grand eight-month journey will mark Viking's third voyage around the globe and will nearly double the length of the company's previous World Cruise itineraries. Within the 245-day Ultimate World Cruise itinerary, Viking will also offer guests an option to sail one of two shorter segments during the cruise. Guest can choose between Viking World Treasures, a 127-day sailing from London to Los Angeles that visits 33 countries and 61 ports, or Viking World Wonders, a 119-day journey from Los Angeles to London that visits 29 countries and 55 ports. As with all Viking itineraries, guests receive a complimentary shore excursion in each port and free unlimited Wi-Fi; World Cruise guests also receive Business Class airfare and all gratuities and service fees, along with an extensive list of added-value included features in their cruise fare.

"For more than 20 years we have been offering guests the most culturally immersive journeys available in the industry and we are pleased to announce the most extensive itinerary in our history," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "Our World Cruises offer guests the rare opportunity to unpack once and explore dozens of the best destinations on earth – at a value that is unprecedented in the travel industry."

Viking's Ultimate World Cruise visits dozens of legendary cities, charming ports and idyllic islands in one epic journey. Included excursions in every port allow guests to immerse themselves in the world's cultures, and The Viking Way of exploration offers additional, optional excursions that provide unmatched insight into Local Life, Working World and offer Privileged Access visits to cultural institutions. Overnight stays in 22 cities allow guests to delve deeper into destinations; and Viking's Culture Curriculum offers additional enrichment on board with regional entertainment and lectures, as well as learning opportunities as part of the Viking Resident program. Full details on the Ultimate World Cruise can be found on Viking's website here; highlights include:

• Greenwich: London at Your Door – Dock in the historic Royal Borough of Greenwich, London, which allows guests easy access to the regal capital's iconic sights, including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

• Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Peak of Brazilian Culture – One of the 22 overnight stays on this itinerary occurs in the historic city of Rio de Janeiro, where guests can witness the larger-than-life Christ the Redeemer statue or relax on the scenic Copacabana and Ipanema beaches of this coastal metropolis.

• Ushuaia, Argentina: "End of the World" – Commonly referred to as the "End of the World," guests will visit Ushuaia, a city perched on a steep hill on the southernmost tip of South America, and explore its lush scenery through excursions to the nearby Escondido and Fagnano Lakes or the Tierra del Fuego National Park, which was first inhabited by humans 10,000 years ago.

• Hobart, Tasmania: An Island of History and Wilderness — The capitol of Australia's island state of Tasmania, Hobart offers guests the chance to learn about its aborigine history and explore its unique wilderness area, including Mt. Wellington, which the city is nestled under.

• Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Vibrant Saigon – This eclectic city, home to a mix of modern skyscrapers, French colonial buildings and ornate palaces, offers a variety of experiences for guests, including the Cu Chi Tunnels, the War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Reunification Palace.

• Mumbai, India: The Front Door to India – The bustling city of Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. While in port, guests can learn about the iconic activist Gandhi at the Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum and visit the Hanging Gardens, one of the prized few parks found in the busy metropolis.

• Luxor, Egypt: Temples and Tombs – The site of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor is dense with historical monuments for guests to explore, including the Temple of Karnak and the Valley of the Kings & Valley of the Queens, which house the tombs of the Pharaohs and their wives.

• Eight All-New Ports in South America – Guests will visit eight all-new Viking ports while in South America, including Roseau, Dominica, two ports in Chile (La Serena (Coquimbo) and Iquique), three ports in Peru (Arequipa (Matarani), Pisco (General San Martín) and Lima (Callao)) and finally guests will explore Quito (Manta), Ecuador and Panama City (Fuerte Amador), Panama.

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can accommodate 930 guests. Viking Sun is the fourth addition to Viking's award-winning ocean fleet, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, and was recently "named" in Shanghai during its first-ever sold out World Cruise. Viking will welcome two more sister ships in the next two years, including Viking Orion in June 2018. With the arrival of Viking Jupiter in 2019, Viking will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Ten additional ships are also planned for delivery starting in 2021, which could bring Viking's ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027. Classified as "small ships," Viking's ocean fleet features modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail.

Cunard's "Three Queens" Offer Royal Wedding Celebration
Cunard has announced it will have exclusive celebrations on board Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth on May 19, 2018 in honor of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's nuptials. Those who are not able to cross the pond to attend the wedding festivities will be offered special viewing parties and royal celebrations around the world on Cunard's fleet of "Three Queens." The Royal Celebration on May 19 will include:

• Screening of the Royal Wedding

• Royal Wedding Afternoon Tea with specially created cakes including the Union Jack Butterfly, Chocolate Crown, Victoria Wedding Cake along with traditional finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and jams

• Celebration cocktails including the Princess Bride, The King's Steed, American Beauty, Midnight Over the Atlantic and P.S. I Love You

• Commemorative dinner and keepsake menu in the main dining rooms on board (Queens Grill, Princess Grill, Britannia, Britannia Club, and Verandah)

• Celebration cake, modelled after the bride and groom's, made of lemon and elderflower to be served in each of the restaurants

• Champagne at dinner

Passengers on all three ships will have the opportunity to toast the happy couple from all over the world. Guests on flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will be sailing on one of her signature transatlantic voyages, headed towards the UK, as they celebrate the royal wedding. Those on Queen Elizabeth will be in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Queen Victoria passengers will be in Portree, Scotland.

Cunard is no stranger to the royal family, in fact Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, attended her first Cunard event in 1938 when she was only 12 years old. Since then The Queen has launched and named four Cunard ships. Her Majesty is the only person who has been present at the launch of all three ships named Queen Elizabeth - the first in 1938, QE2 in 1967 and Queen Elizabeth in 2010.

"We are excited to celebrate the royal wedding with our guests on board all three Cunard ships," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "We are thrilled to honor this special moment in time, and to commemorate Cunard's longstanding special relationship with the Royal Family," he added.

On Cunard's iconic Queen Mary 2, which offers regularly-scheduled Transatlantic Crossings from New York to Southampton, England from May through December, pre- and post-voyage tours visit London with stops at Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, among other regal venues.

Princess Cruises Kicks Off 2018 Alaska Cruise Season
rincess Cruises has welcomed the start of the 2018 Alaska cruise season, offering guests more options to experience the best of the Great Land. Princess Cruises takes more guests to the 49th state than any other cruise line, offering unique itineraries, cruisetour options and new guest experiences that bring the history, people and culture of Alaska to life both on land and at sea.

This summer Princess Cruises has seven ships sailing the region including the newly enhanced Golden Princess. Guests will be able to experience the newly designed restaurant space and menu at Sabatini's Italian Trattoria; create, play and huddle at the Camp Discovery youth and teen center; and be entertained while watching a variety of the newest movies, shows and concerts on a more technologically advanced Movies Under the Stars screen aboard Golden Princess.

While onboard all ships sailing Alaska this year, guests will encounter a variety of ways to engage in unique Alaska experiences through the award-winning North to Alaska program, featuring the line's favorite "Cook My Catch," an exclusive culinary program allowing guests to return from select Princess fishing excursions to have the chef prepare their very own catch of the day. Also offered, the crowd-favorite Puppies in the Piazza, where real Alaska sled dog puppies are brought onboard in Skagway for guests to interact with.

Guests venturing into the interior of Alaska on a Princess cruisetour visiting Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge will be some of the first to visit the lodge's newest addition, a wilderness treehouse built by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet's hit show "Treehouse Masters." The treehouse, completed in fall 2017, in conjunction with the line's Discovery™ partnership, provides a unique perspective of Denali – the tallest mountain in North America.

The treehouse will open its doors to guests looking to take part in unique activities including "Tales from the Sourdough Expedition," a historic walking tour led by Todd Huston, the first disabled person to break an able-bodied world record in sports by climbing to the highest elevations in each of the 50 United States faster than anyone else. During the walk guests will hear first-hand stories from his journey as well as that of the historic first summit by Pioneer Alaskans in 1910. Guests will also be able to meet with a local Birch tree sap harvesters and enjoy Sappy Hour, a "sweet" look into the process of harvesting this natural product of the boreal forests and products developed from it.

"This year, our guests will be delighted by the newly designed guest experiences highlighting the history of Alaska and its people that adds a unique layer to an already unbelievable cruise vacation," said Lisa Syme, Princess Cruises vice president.

In addition to new programming on land, Princess debuts a new dining venue at the line's Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge, Rod & Reel. The restaurant renovation is the latest enhancement to the lodge located on the Kenai Peninsula, and will offer new menu items for both lunch and dinner.

Carnival Cruise Line Names Lars Ljoen to Head Marine Operations
Carnival Cruise Line announced today that it has appointed Lars Ljoen as its new executive vice president of marine operations. Ljoen is currently the executive vice president and managing director of Carnival Maritime, the marine service unit of the Costa Group in Hamburg, Germany.

Ljoen will be responsible for overseeing all of Carnival Cruise Line's marine operations, including nautical and technical operations, environmental compliance and safety. He will be succeeding Martin Landtman, Carnival's senior vice president of marine operations, who will be retiring from Carnival in June.

"Lars has the leadership skills and experience to further drive continuous improvement and operational excellence in marine operations across our fleet," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Having run Costa Group's maritime unit, Lars will bring vast knowledge, passion and enthusiasm to this role and we are excited to welcome him to the team."

Ljoen has a long and successful track record in marine operations. He joined the Costa Group in 2015 as senior vice president and was promoted to executive vice president and Managing Director in 2016. At Costa, he was responsible for fleet governance, Marine Projects and continuous improvement initiatives. From 2005 to 2015, Ljoen headed the development of business strategies for Ceres Marine Terminals (NYK Ports) in Miami. Prior to that, he was director of marine operations at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd where he managed fleet-wide navigation issues, maritime training and dock operations. A native Norwegian, Ljoen began his career on supply vessels and shuttle tankers in the North Sea offshore industry.

"There is strong collaboration among the brands at Carnival Corporation and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to step into this leadership role at Carnival Cruise Line, working closely with the seasoned team of maritime professionals," said Ljoen.

Princess And "The Love Boat" Cast To Receive Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
Just over 40 years ago (May 1977), a new television show premiered, set aboard a cruise ship, featuring stories of romance, hijinks and adventure on the high seas that involved characters portrayed by Hollywood's biggest stars of the day. The opening theme song lyrics invited viewers to "come aboard, we're expecting you…" Today, "The Love Boat" remains a beloved part of the fabric and culture of television and the ensemble cast along with ocean-going co-star Princess Cruises will be honored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, superintendent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, will honor Princess Cruises and the original cast of "The Love Boat;" Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Jill Whelan (Vicki), Ted Lange (Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Fred Grandy (Gopher) during a ceremony on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in front of the Dolby Theatre on the famed Hollywood Boulevard.

"What an unexpected thrill for our cast to be honored with Princess Cruises on Hollywood Boulevard," said Gavin MacLeod, aka Captain Merrill Stubing and 30-year brand ambassador for Princess Cruises. "'The Love Boat' offered us many opportunities to see the world, create lifelong friendships and of course introduce the joys of cruising. People still approach me and say that the show gave them something to dream about – falling in love, finding happiness all while sparking the desire to travel. Now more than 40 years later, cruising is a vacation option for everyone and the growth of the industry just proves that dreams really do come true," added MacLeod.

It began in the mid-70s when television producer Douglas S. Cramer, who had created the popular television series "Love, American Style," decided to transplant his popular comedy vignette series from its studio setting to the environs of a modern cruise ship. The resulting television show, "The Love Boat" has been widely credited with introducing millions of viewers to the concept of a contemporary cruise vacation and the dramatic growth of the industry, which continues to expand globally today.

"We're proud to welcome the original cast of 'The Love Boat' and Princess Cruises as Friends of the Walk of Fame recognizing their contribution to the history of television and support for the preservation of the Walk of Fame," said Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

After the 1977 pilot show, which was shot aboard the line's original Sun Princess in Mexico, Cramer teamed up with top television producer Aaron Spelling and "The Love Boat" went on to enjoy phenomenal success, continuing for 10 seasons until 1987 as one of the highest-rated, prime-time television shows in the country. Princess Cruises soon became a household name as the primary setting and co-star of the popular series, and continues to be known as the "Love Boat" cruise line today. Pacific Princess and Island Princess were the two original ships but as the show grew in popularity "The Love Boat" was filmed aboard many Princess ships at exotic destinations around the globe.

"The Hollywood Historic Trust is pleased to welcome our newest Friends of the Walk of Fame," said Donelle Dadigan, co-chair of the Hollywood Historic Trust, the organization that works to maintain the world-famous walk. Ms. Dadigan is also chair of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for 2018.

Like no other show in television history, "The Love Boat" featured more than 1,000 celebrity guest stars including Tom Hanks, Florence Henderson, Charo, Debbie Reynolds, Milton Berle, Mickey Rooney, Ethel Merman and Ginger Rogers, to name a few. The original "Love Boat" series is currently in worldwide syndication, having been translated into more than 29 different languages, and is viewed by millions of fans in more than 93 countries. Fans can watch episodes on MeTV, Memorable Entertainment Television, America's #1 all classic television network.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 63.06 - 4.84%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 108.19 - 9.62%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.44 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.47 - 5.78%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former White Star liner retained her original White Star name (ending in -ic) and funnel colors well after the two lines merged in 1934 until she was retired in late 1960?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the last cruise ship to sail the Haifa to New York route for Israel's Zim lines?

Answer - The ship was the Shalom, built in 1964. She rammed the Stolt Bagdali in NY in Nov 1964 and the tanker sank. After a brief career with Zim, she was renamed Hanseatic for German Atlantic Line, then Doric for Home Lines, followed by Royal Odyssey for Royal Cruise Line, and finally, Regent Sun for Regency Cruises. She sank while under tow for scrapping in 2001 off the coast of S. Africa
courtesy of cant@sympatico.ca


Cruise News - April 23, 2018

Norwegian Cruise Line Takes Delivery Of Norwegian Bliss
Today, Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the 168,028-gross-ton Norwegian Bliss, from Meyer Werft during a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany, marking the conclusion of an 18-month building period. In attendance were executives from Norwegian Cruise Line, including Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer, Harry Sommer, executive vice president of international business development, Robin Lindsay, executive vice president of vessel operations for the 16-ship fleet, representatives from Meyer Werft including Bernard and Tim Meyer, managing partners of the German-based shipyard, and the ship's captain and hotel director. Before cruising to Southampton, England to begin her transatlantic journey on April 21, Norwegian Bliss will showcase all she has to offer to her first guests during a two-day European inaugural preview cruise hosted by Andy Stuart and Harry Sommer.

Upon her arrival to the U.S. on May 3, the festivities for her U.S inaugural tour will commence with two-night preview events in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, and will conclude with a grand christening ceremony and sailing from her first homeport at Pier 66 in Seattle, Washington on May 30. Following a three-day inaugural voyage with a call into the port of Victoria, British Columbia, she will return on June 2 and will then embark on her first seven-day voyage to Alaska.

"Norwegian Bliss is one of our most highly-anticipated ships to date, and today marks another exciting milestone for the newest and most innovative ship of our young and modern fleet," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. "The Meyer Werft team, along with our operations teams, ship officers and crew members, has done an incredible job bringing Norwegian Bliss to life and we cannot wait for guests to experience all she has to offer."

"We're happy to deliver another ship to Norwegian Cruise Line," said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft. "We are extremely proud of our partnership of over 15 years and are confident that the first ship custom-built for cruising to Alaska will exceed the expectations of their guests."

Norwegian Bliss, the third ship in the line's Breakaway Plus class, the most successful class in the company's history, is the first cruise ship specifically designed with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruising experience. On board, guests will be able to experience their favorite amenities by Norwegian Cruise Line, plus some new first-at-sea offerings. Norwegian Bliss will thrill and excite guests with the largest competitive race track at sea, a first for any North America-based cruise ship. The two-level electric-car race track sits at the top of deck 19, offering guests amazing views while twisting and turning at a speed of up to 30 miles per hour. After a thrilling ride, guests can then test their agility at the open-air laser tag course, or race side-by-side on the Aqua Racer waterslide at the expansive Aqua Park, with two multi-story waterslides, one of which extends over the edge of the ship and loops down to the deck below.

Aboard Norwegian Bliss, culinary enthusiasts can savor new exclusive specialty dining and bar concepts such as the debuting Texas smokehouse – Q, the cruise line's first full-service Starbucks store at sea, and Coco's – a chocolate and sweet treats shop. At The District Brew House, guests can enjoy a variety of craft cocktails and beers, including local Seattle favorites from Red Hook Brewery.

Continuing with Norwegian's commitment to offering incredible entertainment across the fleet, Norwegian Bliss features new programming that includes the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Jersey Boys, and ¡HAVANA! – an original musical theater show created and produced specifically for Norwegian Bliss. The creative group behind ¡HAVANA! include Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, Cuban-American design duo Isabel and Ruben Toledo and features original songs by Cuban-American, Grammy-winning singer – Albita. Norwegian Bliss also features a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition – The Musical that will transport guests to a New Orleans speakeasy on the eve of the Prohibition era. At The Cavern Club, guests can enjoy their favorite songs from The Beatles live with a talented cover band, in a setting inspired by the Liverpool Club where The Beatles famously performed countless times.

Guests on Norwegian Bliss can relax with a variety of accommodations including luxurious suites in The Haven by Norwegian, studio staterooms for solo travelers with virtual ocean views, and plenty of connecting staterooms ideal for large groups and families. Two expansive observation lounges, one exclusively accessible for Haven guests, will offer cruisers uninterrupted views of the natural beauty of the sea and shore throughout their journeys.

Beginning June 2018, Norwegian Bliss will spend her summer cruising seven-day voyages to Alaska, and fall season cruising to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. In winter of 2018, she will sail the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Carnival Announces Senior Officers For New Carnival Panorama
With its spectacular new West Coast ship already open for sale and taking reservations, Carnival Cruise Line has named its senior leadership team for the Carnival Panorama, scheduled to enter service in 2019. Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Panorama will be based in Long Beach, Calif. – the line's first new ship homeported on the West Coast in 20 years.

Carnival Panorama's senior officers include some of the most talented and experienced mariners in the cruise industry:

Captain Carlo Queirolo: A 33-year Carnival veteran, the Rapallo, Italy, native joined the company as a deck cadet aboard the TSS Festivale in 1985 and, after moving up the ranks, was named captain in 1996. During his three-plus decades at sea, he has commanded just about every ship in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet and been part of the inaugural teams for Carnival Elation, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Glory and Carnival Dream.

Chief Engineer Nunzio Priolo: A native of Catania, Sicily, Priolo joined Carnival Cruise Line in 1980 as a third officer after serving in the Italian Navy and working aboard a number of cargo vessels. After moving up the ranks, he was named chief engineer in 2004 and was part of the start-up team for Carnival Miracle in 2004. Over his 28-year Carnival career, he has served on nearly every ship in the fleet.

Hotel Director Damir Mrsic: Mrsic joined Carnival in 1993 as a member of the beverage operations team and was named hotel director in 2009. During his Carnival career, he has worked as bar manager and food and beverage manager, while serving on the start-up teams for Carnival Legend, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor. A native of Zadar, Croatia, Mrsic graduated from the Maritime Academy in Salzburg, Austria. He worked in several hotels along the Adriatic Sea before joining Carnival.

With almost 100 years of combined experience at Carnival, these seasoned professionals will lead a team of nearly 1,400 crew members who will travel to Marghera to prepare the 133,500-ton vessel for its inaugural voyage from Long Beach – a three-day cruise to Ensenada operating Dec. 11-14, 2019.

Following its inaugural voyage, Carnival Panorama will launch year-round seven-day cruises Dec. 14, 2019, departing Long Beach every Saturday to stunning destinations along the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. Carnival began accepting reservations for Panorama's west coast cruises in March.

Voyages will depart from the newly refurbished Long Beach Cruise Terminal, housed in a massive 146,000-square-foot geodesic dome that once served as home to Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose airplane. The expanded and renovated facility offers streamlined embarkation and debarkation processes along with stunning design elements that pay homage to the Golden State.

Like its name implies, Carnival Panorama will feature venues offering both indoor and al fresco experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi, Bonsai Teppanyaki and Guy Fieri's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse, among others. The ship will also feature groundbreaking attractions like bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare recreation area, along with vibrant Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations, the Family Harbor Lounge and the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa. It will be the third ship in Carnival's Vista Class, following Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon.

Princess Cruises Reveals 2020 World Cruise Onboard Pacific Princess
Destination lovers seeking new worldwide travel experiences need to look no further than Princess Cruises and the cruise line's 2020 World Cruise. Offered on the intimate 670-guest Pacific Princess, cruisers will visit 42 destinations on five continents and come back holding once-in-a-lifetime memories from around the globe.

Due to popular demand of the 2019 World Cruise, the 2020 111-day roundtrip voyage offers similar routing to the 2019 cruise, including South Africa and departs Ft. Lauderdale on January 5, 2020 and Los Angeles on January 20, 2020. Princess Cruises also offers a 96-day Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale segment, departing Los Angeles on January 20, 2020, as well as shorter, multi-day segments along the journey.

"We've been offering World Cruises since 1998 and our team of destination experts knows how to create the best worldwide itineraries like no other in the cruise industry," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Our Captain, officers and crew regularly hear from guests the impact the World Cruise has on them, as they share their appreciation for taking them to places they never in a million years thought they would experience."

Fun facts and Princess Cruises firsts for the 2020 World Cruise include:

• Cruise to 42 destinations, 26 countries on five continents

• 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the first visit to Stone Town in Zanzibar

• Pacific Princess will sail 34,287 nautical miles in 111 days

• The World Cruise crosses the Equator four times

• First time Princess Cruises on a World Cruise visits Kaikoura, New Zealand; Praslin, Seychelles Islands; Mayotte Island, (French protectorate); and Zanzibar, Tanzania

• First call to Melbourne on a World Cruise for Princess Cruises

• 12 late-night stays to maximize time in port, including Melbourne, Tahiti, Phuket and an overnight in Cape Town, South Africa

The 2020 World Cruise aboard Pacific Princess goes on sale on Wednesday, April 25,

Celebrity Cruises Announces Redesigned Spa Program
Together, Celebrity Cruises and Canyon Ranch have set out to reinvent fitness at sea, inspired by the latest innovations and wellness trends in the world. The redesigned onboard program includes 20 new fitness classes and seminar experiences for guests.

There are six class categories based on different core needs and exercise groups: Sweat, Conditioning, Longevity, Mindfulness, Nutrition, and Acupuncture.

”At Celebrity Cruises we’re always looking for ways to pump-up the volume and raise the bar. Together with the Canyon Ranch team, we saw the opportunity to enhance our guest experience by revamping our fitness program and adding brand new classes inspired by the latest developments in fitness,” said Brian Abel, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises. “With this new program, guests can enjoy a best-in-cruise fitness experience with unrivaled amenities, experienced and highly trained fitness experts, and a full schedule of invigorating and body-changing classes on board our ships.”

”Wellness is a lifestyle and this redesigned program empowers our guests to evolve their workout regimens along on the high seas,” said Sandra Foyil, Senior Vice President of Canyon Ranch At Sea. “Fitness enthusiasts and beginners alike will discover a wide range of experiences to challenge themselves and improve their well-being for optimal health.”

Among the new classes and seminar experiences are:

• SWEAT: TABATA IMPACT Less is more, with this fast and furious integrated interval workout that hails from Japan. Tabata offers the best of cardio and training techniques to provide a full-body workout incorporating enhanced core-strength training exercise

• CONDITIONING: PILATES TO THE BEAT This lively, Pilates mat-inspired class is choreographed to upbeat pop songs. Guests can challenge themselves to rhythmically flow from one exercise to next

• LONGEVITY: AGE-DEFYING TECHNOLOGY Learn about the latest technologies, services and products that could help push back the hands of time

• NUTRITION: DETOX 101: WEIGHT LOSS AND MORE Gain knowledge about the most effective detoxifying foods, and how they promote weight loss and overall well-being

• ACUPUNCTURE: ACUPUNCTURE FOR PAIN RELIEF Treat pain, revive energy levels, get to the root of digestive discomfort, aid a healthy night's sleep, de-stress, feel younger, and live longer. Learn from a licensed acupuncturist about the incredible effects of this proven healing practice

Carnival Selects Konami's SYNKROS Casino Management System for Fleetwide Gaming Operations
Konami Gaming, Inc. announced it has reached an agreement with Carnival Corporation & plc to deliver its award-winning SYNKROS casino management system across the entire global fleet. As Carnival Corporation's preferred partner for core gaming systems, SYNKROS will provide systems hardware and software for 100+ ships spanning a portfolio of nine cruise line brands.

"A key component of Carnival Corporation's long-term global focus is driving future innovation and leveraging technology that advances the greatest vacation experience for our guests," said Marty Goldman, senior vice president, global casino operations, at Carnival Corporation & plc. "After extensive evaluations, Konami not only had the robust technical infrastructure required to support our goals, but also the company values, culture, and professionalism to foster true partnership."

Konami's SYNKROS will reach onboard casinos spanning nine leading brands: Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia), and P&O Cruises (UK). New build ships are also planned for implementation as it progresses.

"Carnival Corporation has demonstrated incredible achievements in enhancing experiential value for guests, with groundbreaking service, convenience, and technology," said Tom Jingoli executive vice president & chief commercial officer at Konami Gaming, Inc. "The launch of SYNKROS across its casino portfolio will equip Carnival Corporation with a unified global system, bringing together marketing, reporting, analytics, accounting, and more within a single agile environment."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.27 + 3.42%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.71 + 3.46%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.44 - 2.70%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.75 + 6.19%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the last cruise ship to sail the Haifa to New York route for Israel's Zim lines

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When the France of 1962 was built for the French Line she cost $80 million. How much did Norwegian Cruise Line pay for the classic liner when they acquired her in 1979?

Answer - NCL bought the France for 18M USD in 1979.
courtesy of Jonas Ekstam, Stockholm, Sweden


Cruise News - April 16, 2018

American Cruise Lines Completes Sea Trials Of Newest Ship
American Cruise Lines announced this week that its first new ship of 2018, American Constitution, successfully passed Sea Trials last week in Chesapeake Bay. With the U.S. Coast Guard aboard, American Constitution underwent speed trials, an endurance run, and was thoroughly tested in all areas of safety and maneuverability.

“The American Constitution passed with flying colors,” said Paul Taiclet, Vice President of Hotel Operations, who was aboard for the Sea Trials. “The ship performed exceptionally well and has a number of enhancements that further American’s tradition of innovation in small ship cruising.”

One of the new advanced features noted by Mr. Taiclet are new acoustical treatments and vibration dampening systems throughout the ship, which make it extremely quiet even when running at full speed. Now that American Constitution’s Sea Trials are completed, the Line looks forward with great excitement to the ship’s inaugural cruise from Baltimore this Wednesday, April 18th.

The first cruise will also be the Line’s first American Revolution Cruise—a new 10-night cruise around Chesapeake Bay that features ports central to our nation’s history. For the remainder of 2018, the new ship will stay on the East Coast, where it will run a series of trips in summer and fall from Boston, MA and New York, NY.

American Cruise Lines is proud of its commitment to building only new advanced ships. Every ship in the Line’s expanding fleet is built to spec in the United States and showcases the finest American design and craftsmanship—all ships are U.S. crewed and flagged. American already maintains the largest fleet in the U.S. and continues to expand year after year. American offers its passengers the widest range of gracefully appointed technically superior ships in the industry. In 2018, the Line continues this tradition of excellence as American Constitution is now the newest and finest ship available on the Eastern Seaboard.

Queen Mary 2 Guests to be First to Board the QE2 Hotel in Dubai
Dubai will welcome the most famous ocean liners in the world when the arrival of Queen Mary 2 coincides with the opening of the Queen Elizabeth 2 hotel.

Guests travelling on QM2 will have the opportunity to join VIPs and local media at the opening of the QE2 on 18th April. Future guests will also have the chance to visit when QM2 returns to Dubai in January and April 2019 as part of her World Voyage.

QE2 was launched by Her Majesty the Queen in 1967 and was the Cunard flagship liner (a role she relinquished to Queen Mary 2 in May 2004), undertaking 25 world cruises, crossing the Atlantic more than 800 times and carrying more than 2.5 million passengers. QE2 is owned by PCFC Hotels - part of the Dubai government's Ports, Customs and Free Zones Corporation and will reside permanently at Mina Rashid, Dubai.

"On behalf of Cunard, we are so excited for our guests sailing on Queen Mary 2 to be of the first to board the QE2 Hotel in Dubai," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "QE2 holds a very special place in Cunard's history, and we hope that the ship will continue to be enjoyed by many guests to come."

Holland America Line Celebrates 145th Anniversary April 18
Holland America Line is celebrating its 145th anniversary today, April 18, 2018, marking its place in history as one of the most experienced cruise lines in the world. What started as shipping and passenger line Netherlands-American Steamship Company in 1873, is today an award-winning premium cruise line taking guests to more than 400 ports around the world, sailing on all seven continents.

Within 25 years of its founding, the company owned a fleet of six cargo and passenger ships and operated between Holland and the Dutch East Indies. Because it was headquartered in Rotterdam and provided service to the Americas, over time the company became known as Holland America Line.

"Holland America Line proudly honors the rich and rare legacy of our past while exceeding the expectations of today's traveler with the very best experience at sea," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Throughout the history of the company, our purpose has remained the same: to bring to life the dreams of those who sail with us, discovering new places, cultures and people along the journey. We look forward to the next 145 years."

Though transportation and shipping were the primary sources of revenue, in 1895 the company offered its first vacation cruise. The line was primarily a carrier of immigrants from Europe to the United States until well after the turn of the century, bringing nearly one million people to new lives in the New World. It supported the Allied cause during two world wars and several ships served as troop carriers. In 1973, the company sold its cargo shipping division.

Through the early '70s, Holland America Line was the first to establish schools in Indonesia and the Philippines to train future employees, thereby making its shipboard service renowned in the industry. Holland America Line has been headquartered in Seattle since 1983. Purchased by Carnival Corporation in 1989, the company grew to new heights, embarking upon a shipbuilding path that has seen the introduction of 16 new vessels over the years to the line's fleet so far.

Today, the premium cruise leader operates 14 ships sailing to all seven continents. Throughout its history Holland America Line has carried more than 16 million passengers to vacation destinations across the globe.

In December 2018, Holland America Line will welcome Nieuw Statendam to the fleet. Nieuw Statendam is the second Pinnacle Class ship for Holland America Line, joining Koningsdam, which launched in April 2016. A third Pinnacle Class ship will set sail for the cruise line in 2021.

The new 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of the company. Holland America Line's first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company's history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for "new" with the classic Statendam, Holland America Line is celebrating the company's past, present and future.

Carnival Celebrates Opening of St. Maarten Shore Excursion
Carnival Corporation celebrated the official grand opening of Rainforest Adventure's Rockland Estate eco-park attraction April 11 in St. Maarten. To mark the occasion, a ceremony was attended by esteemed government officials, including Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin and Governor Dr. Eugene Holiday, as well as Rainforest Adventures president Josef Preschel and key Carnival Corporation officials, including David Candib, vice president of development and operations for the global port and destination development group.

With financing from Carnival Corporation and built by Rainforest Adventures, Rockland Estate is a one-of-a-kind attraction expected to quickly become one of the most popular in the Caribbean. It has something for everyone – thrill-seeking adventures, including the world's steepest zip line and a mountain chair lift with breathtaking views and a heart-racing tube ride, as well as a museum that showcases the rich history and culture of St. Maarten and its people. Guests from eight of Carnival Corporation's brands with itineraries visiting the island will have the opportunity to experience the new shore excursion, recently named by USA Today 10Best as a top Caribbean attraction.

"We are proud to be part of the Rockland Estate development, and we are excited that this new attraction will surely become a bucket-list item for visitors to the island, whether they're looking to take in incredible views, experience one-of-a-kind rides or gain perspective on the rich history and culture of the island," said David Candib, vice president of development and operations for the global port and destination development group at Carnival Corporation. "St. Maarten is already a beloved destination by guests across our eight cruise line brands that visit the island, and we're confident that Rockland Estate will create an even more compelling reason to visit the country on a cruise vacation."

Rockland Estate is considered an eco-adventure park committed to preserving native eco-systems while ensuring the sustainability of the estate's physical and intangible attributes. The overall goal of the Rainforest Adventures team in building the attraction was to enhance and preserve St. Maarten's natural and built environments and endorse its cultural and historical significance, while also promoting education through adventure.

Said Preschel, president of Rainforest Adventures: "In constructing the park, one of our goals was to uphold our commitment to environmental conservation, with less than five percent of the Emilio Wilson Estate impacted by the new Rockland Estate eco-adventure park. Our other key goal is to educate visitors on the importance of ongoing conservation in this area and to celebrate local history and culture, while also providing thrilling rides and relaxing activities."

"St. Maarten continues to be one of the Caribbean's most popular vacation destinations, and providing new offerings is key in attracting interest in our beautiful and friendly island from both new and returning tourists," said Cornelius de Weever, acting minister of tourism, economic affairs, transportation and telecommunications for St. Maarten. "Rockland Estate is one of the most important attraction developments in St. Maarten in a decade, and we are confident that it will boost tourism. We're excited for more and more visitors to experience all that the park has to offer – from a look into the rich history of St. Maarten to exciting rides that provide breathtaking views of the island."

Located on the historic Emilio Wilson Estate a short ride from St. Maarten's Port of Philipsburg Cruise Terminal, Rockland Estate eco-park encompasses the widest variety of thrill rides and attractions in the Caribbean. The lineup features:

• Soualiga Sky Explorer: Soualiga Sky Explorer encompasses 68 four-passenger chairs that take guests to a transfer station for zip line and tubing rides, and then on to the top of one of St. Maarten's highest points at 1,125 feet where they can take in spectacular panoramic views.

• Sentry Hill Zip Line: From the transfer station at the midpoint of the Soualiga Sky Explorer, guests can experience the exciting Sentry Hill Zip Line, where riders traverse a 1,600-foot, four-span line that provides unforgettable vistas of the mountain ridge.

• Schooner Ride: The Schooner Ride at the midway point of the Soualiga Sky Explorer gives guests the chance to surf down the mountain in large 40-inch inner tubes across a specially designed 657-foot track of heart-pounding curves mixed with fast straightaways.

• Top of Sentry Hill: One of St. Maarten's highest elevations, Sentry Hill, offers walkways and platforms that encircle the mountaintop, showcasing 360-degree vistas of the island with views of neighboring Saba, St. Barts, St. Eustatius and Anguilla.

• Flying Dutchman: The Flying Dutchman is Rockland Estate's main attraction and the world's steepest zip line. It guarantees thrill-seekers the ride of a lifetime while securely harnessed in a chair, dropping them 1,050 feet in elevation from the top of Sentry Hill down the mountain over a 2,800-foot span.

• Emilio Wilson Museum: Originally built as a plantation home in the 1700s, the museum tells the powerful story of Trace Wilson, who was born into slavery on the property, and her direct descendant, St. Maarten pioneer and preservationist Emilio Wilson. It also highlights the customs, traditions, lifestyle and stories that have earned St. Maarten the moniker "The Friendly Island."

St. Maarten is a popular destination for cruise guests, with 1.66 million cruisers visiting the island in 2016. The country's port has been recognized several times by the readers of Cruise Fever as the best cruise port in the Caribbean, and was chosen by cruisers as the number two Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda port of call in Cruise Critic's Cruiser's Choice 2017 Destination Awards. Additionally, cruise tourism plays an important role in the country's economy, representing one third of its gross domestic product (GDP).

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Announces $1 Billion Share Repurchase Program

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.today announced that its Board of Directors authorized a three-year, $1 billion share repurchase program. The Company may repurchase its ordinary shares from time to time, in amounts, at prices and at such times as it deems appropriate, subject to market conditions and other considerations. The Company may make repurchases in the open market, in privately negotiated transactions, in accelerated repurchase programs or in structured share repurchase programs, and any repurchases may be made pursuant to Rule 10b5-1 plans. The program will be conducted in compliance with applicable legal requirements and will be subject to market conditions and other factors.

"The $1 billion share repurchase program authorization reflects our ongoing confidence in our financial strength and the long-term outlook of our business," said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Our strong and growing cash flow will allow us to deepen our commitment to provide returns to our shareholders, while continuing to invest in our product, innovation and growth.”

The program does not obligate the Company to acquire any particular amount of ordinary shares and the program may be modified or suspended at any time at the Company’s discretion.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.08 - 1.20%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 115.71 + 0.50%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.48 + 2.78%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.44 + 0.77%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When the France of 1962 was built for the French Line she cost $80 million. How much did Norwegian Cruise Line pay for the classic liner when they acquired her in 1979?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which cruise ship was the first ship to be so large that she could not fit through the Panama Canal?

Answer - The Carnival Destiny was the first cruise ship too large to fit through the Panama Canal. (Note: NCL's Norway was also too large to fit through the Panama Canal but she started life as an ocean liner).
courtesy of Robert Smithson, Miami, Florida


Cruise News - April 9, 2018

QE2 Returns To Service As A Hotel In Dubai
After nearly ten years of an uncertain future that included rumors of imminent scrapping, the former flagship of Cunard's fleet, Queen Elizabeth 2 returns to service this month as a hotel ship in Port Rashid, Dubai. The former ocean line first arrived in Dubai in November 2008 and changed ownership numerous times as plans to return her to some form of service came and went.

Over the past year however, her latest owners - the Dubai government entity Port, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) - reportedly spent millions of dollars refurbishing and reconditioning the ship in preparation of a return as a hotel, museum and visitor center. Her lifeboats and davits were removed as part of the conversion to a hotel but other than that, her exterior looks much like it did when she was retired from her Cunard service.

According to the hotel's website (www.qe2.com), the ship "...has been lovingly restored to her former glory - revitalized with all the latest in smart technology. Step aboard and relax in her comfortable rooms and suites that offer an imposing backdrop of Dubai's iconic skyline or the ocean beyond. Embark on a culinary journey across her 13 restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. Immerse yourself in her rich past at the onsite QE2 Exhibition."

The Queen Elizabeth 2 Hotel is now accepting reservations beginning April 18th for 650 AED per night, which converts to $176 USD. There are currently 224 refurbished rooms and suites and 13 restaurants open for guests' use. A spa and pool deck will be added shortly according to the The Queen Elizabeth 2 Hotel website.

Carnival Cruise Line Adds 20 Cruises To Cuba From Tampa
Carnival Cruise Line announced today it has added another 20 voyages to Cuba aboard Carnival Paradise from Tampa in 2019, complementing the 11 cruises to the island taking place aboard the vessel through next year.

The new voyages aboard Carnival Paradise are in addition to the 17 recently announced Cuba cruises aboard Carnival Sensation departing from Miami in 2019, indicating that more and more travelers view cruising as a great way to experience the destination.

"Our Cuba cruises have been met with phenomenal guest response since we began sailing to the island last year and we're thrilled to add yet another 20 voyages to this fascinating and sought-after destination," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The newly added five-day voyages on Carnival Paradise will depart Tampa on Saturdays and feature a day-long or a full day and overnight call in the Cuban capital of Havana, along with stops at tropical destinations Key West and Cozumel. Carnival Paradise's new Cuba cruise schedule includes:

• 10, five-day cruises overnighting in Havana with a visit to Key West – departing March 2, April 13, May 25, June 22, July 6, Aug. 3 and 17, Sept. 14 and 28 and Oct. 26, 2019;

• Six, five-day voyages featuring a day-long call in Havana and a visit to Cozumel – departure dates include Jan. 5, March 16, May 11, Aug. 31, Nov. 9 and Dec. 7, 2019;

• Four, five-day sailings featuring day-long calls to Havana, Key West and Cozumel – departing Feb. 16, June 8, July 20 and Oct. 12, 2019.

Guests sailing on Carnival's Cuba cruises can select from nearly 20 different shore excursion experiences that showcase the island's vibrant culture, majestic beauty and centuries-old architectural landmarks. A variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment, including the sizzling Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance Playlist Productions show, Havana-inspired deck parties, trivia contests and salsa lessons, are also offered. There's also an onboard Cuba expert who discusses the country's rich history and culture.

Carnival Paradise completed an extensive, multi-million-dollar refurbishment last month that added a spectacular water park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies to existing staterooms, and an a host of exciting food and beverage concepts. New spaces include Guy's Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, a new Camp Ocean marine-themed play area, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a Pixels-branded digital photo platform and enhanced retail offerings including boutiques from Pandora and Guess.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control. Carnival's shore excursions meet all U.S. government regulations and provide a convenient means for complying with the people-to-people requirements of cruises to Cuba.

Quantum of the Seas To Homeport In Singapore In 2019-2020
Royal Caribbean International today announced that Quantum of the Seas, will be back in Singapore for a six-month homeporting season in 2019 to 2020 – the cruise line’s longest ever Singapore deployment for a Quantum Class ship.

The announcement with this ship which redefined cruising in Asia in terms of size and innovative amenities, reaffirms Royal Caribbean’s confidence in Singapore as the region’s leading cruising gateway, and its commitment to grow its cruise offerings in Singapore and the region.

Over her 34 sailings during the six months from November 2019 to April 2020, Quantum of the Seas is expected to add some 150,000 guests to the Singapore cruising scene. With this 18-deck high, 168,666 gross registered ton ship which can carry 4,905 guests in total, Royal Caribbean will increase its capacity in Singapore by 30 percent.

Her itineraries include 4-night cruises to Penang or Phuket, 5-night cruises to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang and Phuket, a 7-night cruise to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang and Phuket (with an overnight) and a 7-night cruise to Bangkok (Laem Chabang) (with an overnight) and Ho Chi Minh City.

Quantum of the Seas will also be revitalised prior to her return to Singapore. The multi-million dollar project will see the ship refreshed and upgraded to provide the best of the next-generation cruise experience for guests in this region.

President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Mr. Michael Bayley, said that the commitment to bring in bigger and better ships like Quantum of the Seas demonstrates Royal Caribbean’s confidence in the region to continue experiencing record-breaking growth.

“The Asian cruise market has seen tremendous growth over the last few years, and Singapore has been leading growth as one of the most significant cruise destinations and cruise source markets in the region,” said Mr. Bayley.

He added, “In response to the strong demand from Singapore and the region, we have decided to bring in longer cruises for Quantum of the Seas’ return. The season will feature cruises starting from four nights and the first ever 7-night round trip cruises on a Quantum Class ship here. With this ground-breaking itinerary design for the Asian cruise market, our guests will get the opportunity to enjoy a more comprehensive Quantum Class experience and take in more of what this amazing ship has to offer.”

Mr Yap Chin Siang, Assistant Chief Executive, Policy and Planning Group, Singapore Tourism Board, said, “We are pleased to welcome the new and improved Quantum of the Seas to Singapore. The Quantum’s upcoming deployment is a strong endorsement from Royal Caribbean International, our trusted industry partner, of Singapore’s status as Southeast Asia’s homeport of choice. The Quantum of the Seas will be a key addition to Singapore’s vibrant and diverse line-up of cruise offerings, catering to the strong demand for cruising from Singapore.”

The smart ship Quantum of the Seas currently offer the ‘North Star’, an observation capsule that rises 92 metres over the ocean; ‘Two70’ – a hi-tech entertainment venue; cocktails served by robots at the ‘Bionic Bar’; skydiving and surfing experiences; and ‘SeaPlex’, the largest indoor activity space at sea – housing a basketball court, roller-skating, bumper cars and more.

The ship also boasts 18 restaurant venues with cuisines from around the globe, including imaginative cuisine at Wonderland and Jamie’s Italian by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

New Carnival Horizon Takes Cruise Retail Offerings To The Next Level
Continuing Carnival Cruise Line's commitment to providing guests with the widest variety of choices at sea, the line has dramatically expanded its retail offerings with its newest ship, Carnival Horizon, featuring the fleet's most expansive retail space showcasing top brands like LeVian, Victoria's Secret and, for the first time, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Breitling and Hublot.

TDesigned to take Carnival's retail offerings to the next level, Carnival Horizon is distinguished by its modern two-level, mall-style shops located along the ship's atrium on decks 4 and 5 with branded outlets providing guests with a fun and engaging shopping experience.

"We've significantly upgraded our retail choices and spaces in recent years and with Carnival Horizon we're raising the bar with our biggest and best shopping experience yet," said William Butler, vice president of retail services at Carnival Cruise Line.

In addition to offering the largest and most varied offerings in the fleet, Carnival Horizon's retail space is unique in that it is divided into areas dedicated to a particular shopping experience, each designed around guests' interaction with the various interests. These areas include:

• Hip Fish: fashion jewelry, accessories, beauty and fragrances

• Front Street: fine jewelry and timepieces

• Cherry on Top: the "sweetest spot on board" with an assortment of candies, novelty items and fanciful gifts

• Carnival Store: the latest logo items and Carnival Horizon inaugural season memorabilia, as well as Carnival Adventures merchandise offering everything guests need for fun onboard and ashore, such as sunscreen and apparel

• Portside Liquor & Tobacco: popular duty-free items, including the most extensive spirits display at sea

Carnival Horizon brings these areas to life by offering a truly immersive shopping experience including a Beauty and Fragrance Bar that allows guests to try out cosmetics, skincare and fragrances and even enjoy a makeover before a night out on board. Port Side Liquor & Tobacco features a Spirits Tasting Bar where guests can sample and purchase some of the world's finest liquors, including coveted Hennessey White currently not available outside of travel retail. Guests can also take home their own personal keepsake at the Create Your Own jewelry experience within the Hip Fish outlet where they can custom-design jewelry made of Swarovski crystals. There's also the Wearable Tech outlet featuring the latest wearable technology with onboard experts on hand to match guests' style with a variety of watch brands tied to fitness tracking.

Shopping aboard Carnival Horizon is a true "retail-tainment" experience including special events and engaging spaces with expert staff enhancing guests' experience by providing giveaways, in-store parties and entertainment, other promotions. Promotions change daily with flexible pop-up spaces that showcase new fashion and jewelry trends, making Carnival Horizon unlike any other shopping experience, land or sea.

"Our guests are all about participatory fun and Carnival Horizon certainly takes that philosophy to the next level offering not only opportunities to sample the finest products but also keep up with fashion and beauty trends with interactive outlets staffed by experts to help them make the choice that's right for them. There's nothing else like it!" Butler said.

Carnival Horizon's expanded retail offerings are part of the line's continued emphasis on enhancing guests' overall shopping experience. Over the past year, Carnival Cruise Line has completely revamped the shopping outlets on nearly half its fleet with additional ships set for makeovers during upcoming refurbishments.

Carnival Horizon is currently sailing on its inaugural voyage which departed April 2 from Barcelona – the first of four voyages from that port. The ship repositions to New York in May to launch a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures then shifts to Miami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning in September.

Seabourn Expands Culinary Offerings
Seabourn announced this week that it has a new dining experience for guests to savor in the open sea air. Introducing "Earth & Ocean at The Patio™", an a la carte dinner venue developed by consulting Chef Anton Egger to entice guests with candlelight seating and a sophisticated menu celebrating flavors rooted in authentic local favorite foods from around the world. Set to debut with the launch of the line's newest ship, Seabourn Ovation, in May 2018, the new poolside al fresco culinary option will be offered during dinner service and will be fleetwide by spring 2019.

"'Earth & Ocean at The Patio continues the evolution of dining experiences across the Seabourn fleet, offering guests a culinary voyage to far-flung regions of the world served in a remarkably welcoming and relaxing open-air space," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "The new concept, which has some really unique service elements, will be one of many highlights for guests to savor with the launch of Seabourn Ovation, and we look forward to expanding it to all of our ships in the year ahead."

Egger has worked with Seabourn on numerous culinary projects, with "Earth & Ocean at The Patio™" as the latest. He developed the concept, creating new recipes, table settings, and background music, and worked closely with Corporate Chef Franck Salein, who assisted on various aspects of the new venue.

Diners at "Earth & Ocean at The Patio" can look forward to a distinctive dining experience unlike any other on board, with an imaginative array of fresh, inventive dishes from around the world served in a relaxed setting under the stars illuminated with help of fading sunlight and soothing moonlight. The food will be complex yet genuine, rooted in favorite tastes from many regions around the world and served with the flawless hospitality for which Seabourn is so admired.

The Patio will continue to offer its regular poolside lunch service, featuring salads, soups, grilled specialties, and a selection of gourmet pizzas in the afternoon. Guests can also enjoy a signature Napa burger developed by culinary partner Chef Thomas Keller, as well as an artisanal hot-dog dubbed the Yountwurst, named for the hometown of The French Laundry, Ad Hoc, and the original Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery.

"What is familiar to some Seabourn guests will be a completely new experience to others," noted Egger, who, like many culinary talents, draws ideas and innovations from his travels. After getting his start in Austria, he staged in France and Switzerland, and then continued to travel and work across the globe, taking inspiration from the many culinary rich regions he visited, including Asia, India, the Caribbean and South America, the U.S., South Africa and more.

Guests arriving at "Earth & Ocean at The Patio" may be welcomed with items like smoked bacon grissini and house-made artisanal country bread. Other dishes will be served in simple and memorable ways, such as in still-sizzling long-handled black iron skillets, or ceramic Moroccan tagines covered to hold in moisture and smoke to produce succulent, full-flavored results. The restaurant's menus will change daily, including a different dish cooked in a tagine each night.

There will be more cooking methods and innovative presentations including salads and tasty dishes; meat brochettes quick-fired or grilled; beef brisket slow-cooked or braised; and traditional Chinese-style filled bao buns. The venue will also offer a different farmer's-style finishing course each evening, such as shareable oven-baked camembert or brie accompanied by a pot of honey pommery mustard and toasted rustic bread. Desserts of similarly shareable sweet temptations such as oven-baked peaches or slow-roasted pineapples served with house-made gelato will also be featured.

The entire menu will be served with distinctive table settings created in collaboration with ceramic artist Wynne Noble of Noble Plateware in New York and fashioned in the soothing colors of our earth and oceans.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.86 + 0.37%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 115.13 - 0.97%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.44 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.03 + 2.04%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which cruise ship was the first ship to be so large that she could not fit through the Panama Canal?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
American Export Lines operated a quartet of popular combination ships following the Second World War. The ships were known as the "Four Aces". What were the names of these ships?

Answer - The names of the "four aces" were the Excambion, Excalibur, Exhochondra, and Exeter.
courtesy of Rob Thompson, Miami, FL


Cruise News - April 2, 2018

P&O Cruises’ Launch ‘Walk the Wire’ – The World's First Tightrope Experience Between Two Cruise Ships at Sea
P&O Cruises is giving Australians the opportunity to experience a thrill-seeking activity of a lifetime with the launch of ‘Walk the Wire’ - the world’s first tightrope walk between two cruise ships as they glide side-by-side on the Pacific Ocean.

The safety harness equipped activity involves a 30-metre walk from the top deck of Pacific Aria to sister ship Pacific Eden on a cable stretched 40-metres high above the sea.

Adrenalin-loving guests can take part in the ultimate balancing act during select cruises in 2019 when the two ships are sailing alongside each other off the coast of New South Wales.

P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the launch of ‘Walk the Wire’ was aimed at Cruiselings with a sense of adventure and fun, particularly those who had conquered all of the activities at P&O’s signature adventure park at sea, The Edge, which includes walk the plank, a flying fox and funnel climb.

“Our many loyal guests have told us they’re looking for unique, high-energy experiences to make their cruise memorable and to capture that perfect holiday photo moment. So, we decided to give our fun-loving guests the ultimate onboard activity across two P&O ships,” said Mr. Myrmell.

“Walk the Wire is a result of many months of research and development where it was stress-tested by some of the best tight-rope walkers and aerial artists in the business and could be likened to Philippe Petit’s incredible wire walks in New York, Paris and Sydney. We’re expecting unrivalled demand for the experience and are encouraging guests to register their interest early.”

The new experience will be available for a select number of guests who pass preliminary tests. Interested participants can visit P&O Cruises’ Australia’s Facebook page and sign up to the Walk the Wire event to receive more information, including how to book.

Terms and conditions:
*Available on selected cruises in 2019 for a limited number of guests to be determined by P&O Cruises Australia. Successful applicants will be drawn by ballot and advised if successful one month prior to their cruise departure. All applicants must be fit and able to pass preliminary tests, and attend basic onboard training prior to any wire walking attempt. Safety harness will be provided. P&O Cruises reserves the right to cancel the wire walk at any time. This activity has been designed for Cruiselings with a sense of adventure & fun. Conditions apply.

April 1, 2018 ;-)

Carnival Cruise Line Takes Delivery of Carnival Horizon
In a traditional maritime handover ceremony held earlier today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, Carnival Cruise Line officially took delivery of the new 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, the 26th ship in its fleet.

The 3,954-passenger ship will reposition to Barcelona, Spain, where it will depart April 2 on an inaugural 13-day voyage – the first of four sailings from the European port. The ship will then operate a trans-Atlantic crossing before arriving in New York May 23, 2018, for a pierside overnight gala and naming ceremony featuring the ship's godmother, Grammy award-winning musical artist and acclaimed actress Queen Latifah.

Following a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean sailings from New York, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami for a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018.

Carnival Horizon offers several unique and exciting features, including a new Dr. Seuss-themed WaterWorks aqua park, part of the line's exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Bonsai Teppanyaki, the line's first teppanyaki venue, and Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse|Brewhouse serving up "real deal" barbecue favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, as well as four new craft beers brewed on board.

The second in the line's highly successful Vista-class, Carnival Horizon also offers fun innovations like the bike-ride-in-the-sky aerial attraction SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, the Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own pool, and Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations and the Family Harbor Lounge. Like its name implies, Carnival Horizon also includes food and beverage outlets offering amazing views with both indoor and al fresco seating options at venues such as Bonsai Sushi, Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse and Library Bar.

"Carnival Horizon is an absolutely stunning ship offering so many ways to 'Choose Fun' both inside and out," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "In addition to the many exciting innovations previously introduced on Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon offers some new one-of-a-kind features and attractions that make this ship truly special allowing our guests to create a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories," she added.

Seabourn's 2018 Alaska/British Columbia Season To Feature "Ventures By Seabourn"
Seabourn is putting immersive adventure at the forefront for its Alaska and British Columbia season this summer with an impressive offering of optional Ventures by Seabourn guided kayak, Zodiac, catamaran and hiking tours. From exploring Misty Fjords, Holgate Glacier and the Inian Islands by kayak or Zodiac, to hiking Mendenhall Glacier, Rainbow Falls and the Perseverance Trail, all Ventures by Seabourn excursions will be led by a skilled and knowledgeable Seabourn expedition team.

“The team includes experienced wilderness experts, scientists, historians and Zodiac operators. Ventures by Seabourn excursions are available for-charge, in select destinations and can be booked in advance by guests. In addition, the line is working with a number of tour operators in Alaska on hiking excursions, bringing an additional wealth of expertise and information on the region.

Guests can participate in up-close exploration of the majestic beauty and fascinating history and culture of America's Last Frontier. Ventures by Seabourn will be a highlight of more than a dozen 11-, 12- and 14-day itineraries sailed by Seabourn Sojourn from June to mid-October in 2018.

"We are very pleased to share our experienced and qualified team for our 2018 season in Alaska and British Columbia. The strength of this group is that we have a fantastic variety of academic passion, old-school experience and present-day local knowledge," said Robin West, director of Expedition Operations for Seabourn. "The team will not only join the guests on Ventures outings in the field such as guided hikes, Zodiac tours and kayak adventures, but will add to the onboard experience with complimentary lectures on their fields of expertise such as marine biology, geology, ornithology and history, and will be on hand to point out wildlife, join guests for dinner, and answer questions about the wild and pristine destination they have all come to love."

Members of the handpicked expedition team for the 2018 Alaska and British Columbia include:

• Juan Carlos Restrepo, Expedition Leader – With a passion for the great outdoors and adventure, Juan has explored all the continents and oceans of the world. He began his career in the expedition industry as a Dive Master on luxury yachts and then took his love for expedition to the Polar Regions.

• Chris Srigley, Expedition Leader – Chris spends up to nine months a year on expedition ships, including full seasons in Antarctica and the Arctic. Along with regular duties on the expedition team, he serves as a Polar Bear Guard, advancing landing parties and keeping a watchful eye while guests experience natural wonders around them.

• Nicki D'Souza, Assistant Expedition Leader – Nicki puts her years of experience and passion for travel to good use assisting guests with shore excursions all over the world. As an Expedition leader with many maiden calls to her name, she has led voyages along the West Coast of Africa, South America, Europe and Asia.

• Natasha Hanson, Assistant Expedition Leader / Lecturer – An avid outdoorswoman, Natasha has guided kayaking and hiking excursions in numerous remote areas of the world. As a general naturalist with over a decade of experience in the Polar Regions, she has shared her knowledge with guests of various expedition ships.

• Adam Jenkins, Assistant Expedition Leader / Lecturer – Adam has engaged in myriad adventures on the sea, including single-handedly sailing a 27-foot sloop down the Pacific Coast and back up the East Coast to Nova Scotia. He long ago developed a passion for leading expeditions and working with adventure travelers and scientists.

• Meredith Bass, Lecturer – After several years as a television news reporter at ABC, Meredith joined a Seabourn voyage to Antarctica and South America and found expedition travel to be the perfect platform for in-depth experiences exploring nature and culture.

• Jennifer Fought, Lecturer – Certified as a Zodiac operator at age nine, Jennifer quickly developed a passion for the natural world and spent her younger years camping, canoeing and riding horses. With a graduate degree in Structural Geology, she has conducted research from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico to the glaciers of Greenland.

• Lisa Baldwin, Lecturer – Extremely passionate about the ocean, Lisa is a competitive ocean swimmer, free diver, naturalist and avid traveler who enjoys educating others about the natural environment. Her extensive work as a field biologist and passion for health research gives her a unique ability to be open, friendly and relate to guests on all levels.

• Will Wagstaff, Lecturer – A birder since age five, Will has run his own business leading wildlife walks around the Isles of Scilly, a famous birding area to the southwest of Cornwall, UK. During the off-season, he leads wildlife holidays to other parts of the world and has worked on expedition cruise ships in the Arctic and Antarctica.

• Brent Houston, Lecturer – Brent's involvement in wildlife research and polar expedition travel for over 30 years has taken him on over 450 expeditions visiting 100 countries. Among many accomplishments, in 1995 he sailed with the British Royal Navy using helicopters to photograph and document every known penguin colony along the Antarctic Peninsula, discovering two colonies and several landing sites for tourists.

• Joe Cockram, Lecturer – A birdwatcher since childhood, Joe has a particular interest in seabirds. He has worked on some of Northern Europe's most important nesting colonies and has traveled extensively. His career as a shipboard ornithologist combines his passions as he shares his knowledge to help others experience the incredible varieties of species found around the world.

• Captain Al Barnard, Zodiac Operator / Naturalist – Alaska-born, Barnard has spent a lifetime working and exploring the waters of Puget Sound, South East Alaska, the Yukon River and Yukon Territory. He has been a member of the Sea Scouts of the Boy Scouts of America since 1957, and currently volunteers as Commodore of Western Region 1, which includes Alaska.

• Bill Fletcher, Zodiac Operator / Naturalist – A summer job guiding in Alaska sparked Bill's passion for sharing the wonders of the world. He is currently Senior Director of Destination Marketing at Holland America Line, Seabourn's sister cruise line, tasked with telling compelling stories of the many places its ships visit around the world.

• Ross Ellingwood, Zodiac Operator / Naturalist – Ross's love of adventure has had a hold on him since college. In 2016, he spent six months building a wooden rowing boat in his garage, and then took it on a three-month, 1,100-mile exploration of the Inside Passage Waters. His career has seen him guiding sea-kayaking trips and ice climbing in Alaska.

Additional team members will join select sailings periodically throughout the 2018 season.

Take A Walk On The Wild Side WIth Celebrity Cruises
Scale a volcano, race a yacht, or explore the rainforest as part of Celebrity Cruises’ new range of exciting world-opening experiences designed in collaboration with world-renowned adventurer Ben Fogle. The new excursions are an expansion of the top-rated Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures excursion series currently offered in Europe.

Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures program enables guests to explore destinations through the eyes of a local; they can experience culture, history, famous sights, wildlife and adventure at ports of calls throughout Europe, and now the Caribbean and Alaska as well.

“No one understands adventure quite like Ben Fogle, and that’s why we are further expanding our guest-favorite Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures program from nine tours to 20 tours around the world,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Destination is a pillar of our brand and these tours will build on that while also expanding our award-winning shore excursion portfolio, taking guests to new heights – from the peak of a dormant volcano in the Caribbean to the glistening glaciers of Alaska – and opening their world like never before.”

Recently appointed Celebrity Cruises Global Destination Ambassador, Fogle has designed these new exhilarating journeys across the Caribbean and Alaska for the first time, as well as new additions in Europe.

"I'm so excited to share some of my favorite destinations as part of the new series of Great Adventures,” said Ben Fogle, Celebrity Cruises’ Global Destination Ambassador. “My new role as Global Destination Ambassador allows me to indulge my shared passion with Celebrity Cruises of opening up the world with incredible experiences. Some are not for the faint-hearted, such as climbing a volcano to its peak 3,792 feet above sea level, but the rainforest sights and sounds on the way up and views at the top are well worth the ascent."

Fogle’s global travels have been the inspiration of these 11 new and inspiring activities, added to the Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures program, in some of the planet’s most awe-inspiring locales, including:

• Ocean Yacht Racing in Antigua – Indulge that competitive spirit and set sail getting as hands-on as guests want – work the winches, trim the main sail or even take the helm and steer the yacht to victory. Or they can simply sit back and enjoy the incredible views and soak up the sun.

• Mount Liamuiga Volcano Hike in St. Kitts – Climb to lofty new heights and ascend through the tropical rainforest, enjoying the incredible flora and fauna to the rim of the dormant volcano’s crater. Once at the peak enjoy the reward of stunning panoramic views, even over to neighboring islands on a clear day.

• Icy Strait Point Kayak Adventure in Alaska – Become immersed in nature and paddle among the raw beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. Explore remote bays and spot the local wildlife including sea lions, eagles and even brown bears on the shore.

The new Great Adventures designed in collaboration with Ben Fogle are now open for booking

Royal Caribbean Entertainment Shoots For The Stars On Symphony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in entertainment with the debut of cutting-edge productions on stage, in the air, under water and on ice on board Symphony of the Seas. Headlining the playbill will be the all-new show ‘Flight: Dare to Dream,’ a one-of-a-kind journey through the past, present and future of air travel and space exploration that will make history as one of the most ambitious stage productions to date. Guests take off on a spectacular adventure through time, chronicling key milestones in aeronautics, beginning with the first leisure voyage to Mars and ending with a stunning homage to the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk.

A Royal Caribbean Productions original, ‘Flight: Dare to Dream’ introduces cutting-edge 3D flying technology, video and automation to the 1,401-seat Royal Theater. Going where no stage has gone before, space and zero gravity will be simulated as actors “float” within a detailed replica of the International Space Station (ISS). The first theater set piece of its kind, the detailed design of Royal Caribbean’s ISS was informed by Astronaut Clayton C. Anderson, who lived 167 days in space and completed 38 hours and 28 minutes over 6 spacewalks in two separate missions.

“I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to relive my five months aboard the International Space Station for this out-of-this-world Royal Caribbean production,” said Clayton C. Anderson, U.S. astronaut, author & speaker. “I worked with Royal Caribbean to ensure the show’s zero gravity simulation, and appearance of the ISS replica were as true to life as possible to further enhance the show’s wow factor.”

Royal Caribbean Productions is the first team to consult with an astronaut that lived in space for a live theatrical production. Complex, high-impact choreography and production also take form in 3D flying with a custom built recreation of the Wright Flyer that will take off into the house; the set piece will have a 22 foot wingspan and single seat “cockpit.”

“We continue to push the envelope with high-tech, immersive entertainment at Royal Caribbean, and we couldn’t be prouder with how ‘Flight: Dare to Dream’ has brought to life the awe and wonder of flying,” said Nick Weir, Vice President, Entertainment, Royal Caribbean International. “Guests from 5 to 95 years old will not believe their eyes, as all our shows onboard Symphony of the Seas capture their imagination and create jaw-dropping I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened moments they won’t soon forget.”

Three additional headline shows across three distinct stage venues on Symphony of the Seas, include:

• 1977 in Studio B is the continuation to “1877,” the ice-skating show introduced on sister-ship Harmony of the Seas, featuring the time-traveling hero, Tempus. In his latest adventure, Tempus heads to London where a mysterious jewel thief with special powers has stolen the Queen’s crown jewels on the eve of her Silver Jubilee. Timing is everything in this imaginative original ice show, featuring high-tech projection mapping images that bring the ‘70s to life on the ice.

• Hairspray, a guest favorite, gets a makeover for Symphony of the Seas with new choreography and staging of the Tony Award- winning musical. The larger-than-life, Royal Caribbean Productions’ original introduces revolutionary set design, taking the story of loveable teen Tracy Turnblad in 1960s Baltimore, to the next level.

• HiRO raises the bar on Royal Caribbean’s aqua shows with more high flying feats, unexpected stunts and extraordinary acrobatics than ever before. Brought to life by the world’s best extreme-sport athletes, HiRO pushes the limits of a theatrical production at sea with cutting-edge technology and choreography and. No two shows are the same, making it worth seeing twice. The show features 3D flying technology used by aerialists as they literally soar above the crowd, plus acrobats and professional divers.

Cutting-Edge Entertainment Venues on Symphony

• The AquaTheater on Symphony of the Seas is the distinct high diving, acrobatic performance space found only on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class of ships, featuring an open-air amphitheater overlooking the ocean and a performance pool – the deepest at seas – with hydraulic lifts and 10-meter diving platforms.

• Ice shows at Studio B pair world-class skaters performing extraordinary skills against stunning multimedia visuals and audio. Guests watch as the surface of the ice rink transforms before their very eyes, blending fantasy with reality.

• The Royal Theater is a spectacular, state-of-the-art space seating 1,380 guests, and enlisting cutting-edge technology to create a performance environment that is enthralling and immersive.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.62 - 1.79%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 116.26 - 3.05
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.44 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 51.97 - 0.90%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
American Export Lines operated a quartet of popular combination ships following the Second World War. The ships were known as the "Four Aces". What were the names of these ships?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Few ocean liners or cruise ships end up preserved like the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Most end up in very different circumstances. Whatever happened to Cunard's famous Caronia of 1948?

Answer - Caronia was sold to Panamanian interests in 1968 and briefly renamed "Columbia," before going on charter to Caribbean Cruise Line as "Caribia". She was barely back in service when a fire broke out in her engine room, forcing her withdraw after only 2 cruises. Repairs proved to costly, and Caribia was laid up in New York in 1969. Over the course of the next several years she was towed from pier to pier around New York harbor, at one point receiving a "parking ticket" for illegal docking. Eventually, her fittings and furnishings were auctioned off, and she was sold to scrappers in Taiwan. Upon encountering heavy winds in the Western Pacific, the tow ropes broke and Caribia beached on Guam and broke up in 1974. Her remains were later scrapped on the spot.
courtesy of Rob Scafidi


Cruise News - March 26, 2018

Royal Caribbean Welcomes Symphony of the Seas
Thirty-six months, 4,700 shipbuilders and crew, and one common goal: to deliver the ultimate family adventure. Royal Caribbean International honored the project team of Symphony of the Seas during the delivery event at STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France today. Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, led the traditional flag-changing ceremony, which symbolizes the ship’s official delivery from the ship builder to Royal Caribbean. The maritime ritual was followed by a celebration of the industry’s best, the crew whose hard work and meticulous collaboration came together to create the world’s largest cruise ship.

“Symphony of the Seas is the latest example of how our people work to push the envelope of innovation with each new ship,” said Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain. “The Oasis Class has been a trend-setting design, but the team has evolved the design to build on that success to provide even more incredible family adventures. We’re thankful to have a partner in STX France that is every bit as ambitious as we are about building technologically advanced ships.”

“It is a proud and exhilarating moment to welcome a new member to the family. Thanks to our stellar crew and partners at STX France, we now are ready to embark on this new boundless adventure that comes to life on Symphony of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Symphony will take family vacationing to an all new level with energy and options never before found in one place. This ship is the perfect blend of our greatest hits we know guests love and a lineup of vibrant, new restaurants, activities and unparalleled entertainment – all purposefully designed around vacationers’ preferences.”

“Today is a day of pride for me, all STX France and sub-contractor teams as we hand over Symphony of the Seas to her owner as the largest cruise ship ever built,” said Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France. “Symphony will leave Saint-Nazaire yard as the ultimate example of our progress-driven spirit and commitment to innovation, which are at the heart of our partnership with Royal Caribbean, who is always challenging us in this direction.”

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas is 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 238 feet tall and spans 1,188 feet long. She will welcome 5,518 guests at double occupancy in 2,759 staterooms, including 28 additional balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or signature Boardwalk neighborhood. One Oasis Class ship, seven distinctive neighborhoods, the tallest slide at sea with the Ultimate Abyss and countless adventures for guests of all ages, the family adventure of a lifetime has surprises at every turn:

New Culinary Adventures

• Hooked Seafood: This upscale eatery atop of the world’s largest cruise ship in the Solarium serves up the real taste of New England-inspired seafood and unparalleled ocean vistas to match. Approachable and unassuming, the menu offers classic coastal favorites, such as lobster rolls, crab claws, signature fish sandwich, and a raw bar where oysters are shucked to order.

• Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade: Stretching the length of a reimagined Boardwalk, now touting fresh energy and swagger, the whole family can watch the home team play across 31 big-screen TVs, during the day and into the late night. The indoor and outdoor arcade, packed with over 20 games, offers the opportunity for friendly competition. The on-point menu of classic American bar food features everything from wings, burgers and popcorn shrimp to picture-perfect sundaes; as well as craft beers and cocktails.

• El Loco Fresh: Made-to-order tacos and burritos wrapped with fresh tortillas are among the Mexican “street food” favorites that will hit the spot for adventure seekers looking to fuel up with minimal downtime.

• Sugar Beach: The signature candy and ice cream shop is the sweet spot on the Boardwalk with more than 100 types of candies, a lineup of ice cream flavors and even DIY activities for the aspiring culinary artist.

New Ways to Play

• Battle for Planet Z: Royal Caribbean’s first glow-in-the-dark laser tag game brings two teams of eight head to head in an out-of-this-world adventure to determine who will claim the last planet in the galaxy.

• Escape the Rubicon: In the ultimate race against the clock, friends old and new must band together in the Rubicon submarine – a sophisticated, custom-built escape room – to solve a collection of puzzles before time runs out.

Unparalleled Family Accommodations

• Ultimate Family Suite: A two-level, 1,346-square-foot suite filled with awesome thrills offers more than enough room for the whole family – and friends – to come together and catch up on “me time.” Features include an in-room slide, a private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, a 212-square-foot balcony complete with table tennis and a full-size whirlpool. Complete with a Royal Genie, who caters to every whim, there are many more surprises awaiting guests along the way.

Symphony of the Seas will welcome her first guests on Saturday, March 31 for a one-time-only, 5-night preview sailing, calling on Naples and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy.

The ship’s maiden 7-night Mediterranean voyage departs Saturday, April 7 from Barcelona, Spain, where the crescendo of thrills will be brought to life by the 2,200 international crew members who proudly represent 77 countries around the world. Symphony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona for the summer, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy. Beginning Nov. 10, Miami, FL. will become the ship’s year-round homeport, making Symphony of the Seas the first new Oasis Class ship to sail from the cruise capital of the world using Royal Caribbean’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A. The 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises will call on Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s newly revealed destination in the Bahamas.

Carnival Paradise Returns To Service Following Multi-Million-Dollar Makeover
Carnival Paradise returns to year-round cruise service today from Port Tampa Bay following an extensive month-long dry dock that added a variety of spaces and innovations, including a spectacular water park, 38 new staterooms, 98 balconies added to existing accommodations, and an array of exciting food and beverage concepts.

Carnival Paradise departs this afternoon on a five-day Caribbean cruise to Cozumel and Grand Cayman – part of the ship's year-round sailings from Tampa that also include four-day cruises to Cozumel and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Key West or Grand Cayman. The ship also offers four- to eight-day cruises to Cuba featuring day-long and overnight calls in Havana, as well as visits to popular ports throughout the Caribbean.

"We can't wait for our guests to check out the fantastic new features aboard Carnival Paradise, which returns to service better than ever offering an exciting combination of itineraries featuring top destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Cuba," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The new features added during dry dock include:

• Guy's Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool.

• Camp Ocean: a colorful marine-inspired play area designed for kids ages 2-11 that showcases the wonders of the sea through engaging interiors and more than 200 ocean-themed activities and science-oriented programming.

• Circle "C": designed for the 12- to 14-year-old set, this colorful space offers the perfect space for kids to chill and connect as well as enjoy dance parties, video games and more.

• New Staterooms and Enhancements: Thirty-eight staterooms have been added – two Grand Vista suites offering floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic oceanview and 12 interior accommodations. Private verandahs have also been added to 98 existing accommodations, creating spacious new 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All staterooms offer new island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by the ship's tropical itineraries.

• WaterWorks Aqua Park: Located on Verandah Deck, this expansive all-ages water park features an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of exhilarating twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a kiddie splash zone.

• Miniature Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14, providing a fun and relaxing pastime for families to enjoy in the fresh sea air.

• Retail and Photo Enhancements: The retail shops have been completely reimagined with a new design and enhanced product offerings with multiple branded boutiques, including Pandora and Guess. The printed photo gallery has been replaced with a digital Pixels-branded platform that allows guests to identify and purchase images via their smartphones or at a nearby kiosk.

In addition to Carnival Paradise's short cruise program, Carnival's Tampa-based offerings include Carnival Miracle's year-round six- and seven-day cruises visiting beautiful ports throughout the western Caribbean, as well as eight-day voyages that include a partial transit of the Panama Canal.

Princess Cruises Unveils New Features and Upgrades Onboard Sapphire Princess
Sapphire Princess emerged today from an extensive two-week dry dock in Singapore proudly displaying Princess Cruises' signature logo on her bow. The ship has been upgraded with enhanced onboard spaces and product innovations keeping her one of the most desired ships in the fleet.

Finishing up a season cruising throughout Asia, Sapphire Princess departs today on a 28-day voyage from Singapore to London, before beginning European voyages to sought-after destinations in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe including Monte Carlo, Lisbon, Brussels, St. Petersburg and an opportunity to cruise the Norwegian Fjords during Summer Solstice.

"Sapphire Princess is the latest ship to debut many of the signature offerings we know our guests value, enjoy and look forward to experiencing when they travel the world with Princess," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "This investment continues our $450 million 'Come Back New Promise,' a multi-year ship renovation campaign," added Swartz.

New and enhanced offerings aboard Sapphire Princess include:

New Ship Livery – Sapphire Princess is the latest ship to receive the elegant livery design featuring the iconic Princess Cruises logo, one of the most recognized brand logos in cruising. The design features the smooth and flowing gracefulness of ocean waves and represents the excitement and adventure of discovering the great destinations of the world aboard a Princess cruise.

Princess Luxury Bed – available in every stateroom aboard Sapphire Princess by June 2018, the Princess Luxury Bed was developed by Princess Cruises in collaboration with board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus and renowned HGTV designer Candice Olson.

The bed offers the ultimate night of sleep at sea combining the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design and recently received the highest ranking for "Best Cruise Ships Beds" by Cruise Critic.

Club Class Mini-Suites – Sapphire Princess offers Club Class Mini-Suites, the new premium stateroom category featuring VIP amenities and exclusive dining. This elevated mini-suite category features select perks including new Club Class Dining, a reserved dining area with expedited seating and expanded menu options as well as priority embarkation and disembarkation.

Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center – for cruisers ages 3-17, Sapphire Princess now offers a reimagined youth center – Camp Discovery – created in partnership with Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery™, as part of the cruise line's Discovery at SEA program. Catering to specific age groups, kids and teens can make new friends and participate in activities specially designed to help them discover, play, create and huddle.

Entertainment LED Wall – located in the Princess Theater, this new LED wall will be used in produced production shows and various onboard guest entertainer shows. The high quality, technologically advanced wall is made up of 270 panels installed on a custom engineered and shock mounted frame for display of still images, video and live feeds.

"Bravo" – launching in May 2018, this elegant show featured on formal night is one of the highest-rated shows across the fleet. This "Popra-" inspired show features a mix of pop, opera and musical theater performed by a guest soprano in front of a live orchestra.

Enhanced Boutiques – guests enjoy aesthetic enhancements to the Shops of Princess, offering an upgraded shopping experience, such as a branded Effy Fine Jewelry boutique. There will also be new products to choose from featuring a collection of Princess branded athletic wear and logo apparel displayed in a newly designed Logo shop.

Lotus Spa & Fitness Center – a space where guests can relax and invigorate, salon and treatments rooms have been upgraded and the latest in fitness equipment is now available.

Further general refurnishing and technical updates have also been implemented aboard Sapphire Princess.

Carnival Corporation & plc Reports Record First Quarter Earnings
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) announced U.S. GAAP net income of $391 million, or $0.54 diluted EPS, for the first quarter of 2018, higher than U.S. GAAP net income for the first quarter of 2017 of $352 million, or $0.48 diluted EPS. First quarter 2018 adjusted net income of $375 million, or $0.52 adjusted EPS, was higher than adjusted net income of $279 million, or $0.38 adjusted EPS, for the first quarter of 2017. Adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains and losses on fuel derivatives and other net charges, totaling $16 million in net gains for the first quarter of 2018 and $73 million in net gains for the first quarter of 2017. Revenues for the first quarter of 2018 of $4.2 billion were higher than the $3.8 billion in the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald stated, "We are off to a strong start to the year achieving another quarter of record earnings on record revenues and exceeding the high end of guidance. This strong operational execution affirms our efforts to create demand in excess of measured capacity growth and exceed guest expectations once onboard. Our guest experience efforts, coupled with our ongoing marketing and public relations programs are clearly accelerating cruise demand across the board to drive cruise ticket prices higher."

Key information for the first quarter 2018 compared to the prior year:

• Gross revenue yields (revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") increased 9.2 percent. In constant currency, net revenue yields increased 3.9 percent for 1Q 2018, better than December guidance of up 1.5 to 2.5 percent.

• Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD increased 9.0 percent. In constant currency, net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD increased 1.0 percent, better than December guidance of up 2.0 to 3.0 percent, principally due to the timing of expenses between quarters.

• Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) decreased earnings by $0.04 per share, offset by an increase in earnings due to changes in currency exchange rates of $0.04 per share.

Highlights from the first quarter include the signing of agreements with German shipbuilder Meyer Werft GmbH to build two new cruise ships that will be powered by liquefied natural gas ("LNG"). The first is designated for P&O Cruises (UK) to be delivered in 2022 with the second for AIDA Cruises in 2023. Also during the quarter, we continued to drive demand and cruise awareness with successful new marketing efforts: Carnival Cruise Line appointed Shaquille O'Neal as their new "CFO," Chief Fun Officer; Cunard hosted the world premiere of "The Greatest Showman," broadcasting the red carpet event live on Flagship Queen Mary 2; Costa Cruises launched a new international ad campaign featuring Shakira that will be aired in Southern Europe and P&O Cruises launched a new marketing campaign featuring UK celebrity Rob Brydon. Additionally, we launched the new prime time series La Gran Sorpresa on Univision and extended our original TV programming to Telemundo, which will now be featuring our popular Ocean Originals TV program, "The Voyager with Josh Garcia."

2018 Outlook PAt this time, cumulative advanced bookings for the remainder of 2018 are in line with the prior year at higher prices. Since January, booking volumes for all future periods have been running ahead of prior year at higher prices.

Donald added, "The booking strength achieved during this year's wave season, outpacing even last year's record levels, demonstrates sustained strong demand for our world's leading cruise brands and delivers further confidence in our raised earnings guidance. We remain on track to achieve double-digit return on invested capital while continuing to return cash to shareholders through ongoing share repurchases and dividend growth." The company invested more than $250 million in share repurchases since the beginning of the quarter, bringing the cumulative total of repurchases to date to over $3.4 billion since late 2015.

Based on current booking trends, Carnival said that full year 2018 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 2.5 percent compared to the prior year, in line with December guidance. The company expects full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency compared to the prior year to be up approximately 1.0 percent, also in line with December guidance. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates are expected to increase earnings by 0.10 per share compared to December guidance.

Taking the above factors into consideration, Carnival said that it expects full year 2018 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $4.20 to $4.40 compared to December guidance of $4.00 to $4.30 and 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $3.82.

Second Quarter 2018 Outlook

Second quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up approximately 2.5 to 3.5 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency for the second quarter of 2018 are expected to increase by approximately 4.0 to 5.0 percent compared to the prior year. Based on the above factors, the company expects adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter 2018 to be in the range of $0.56 to $0.60 versus 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $0.52.

Reservations Now Open For New Carnival Panorama's Year-Round Departures From Long Beach
Carnival Cruise Line today began accepting reservations for the 133,500-ton Carnival Panorama, which kicks off its year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera schedule from Long Beach, Calif., Dec. 14, 2019, becoming the first new Carnival ship homeported on the West Coast in 20 years.

Prior to the launch of seven-day service, Carnival Panorama will offer a special one-time three-day cruise to Ensenada from Long Beach Dec. 11-14, 2019.

Carnival Panorama will offer a three-port, seven-day itinerary from Long Beach, departing every Saturday to stunning destinations along the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. During these cruises, guests can relax on world-class beaches, visit centuries-old historical sites, and enjoy unforgettable dining and shopping opportunities and exciting experiences ashore.

"Carnival Panorama promises to be a spectacular addition to our fleet and we're delighted to provide our guests with an opportunity to be among the first to sail on our first new ship on the West Coast in two decades," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Voyages will depart from the newly refurbished Long Beach Cruise Terminal, housed in a massive 146,000-square-foot geodesic dome that once housed Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose airplane. The expanded facility offers a streamlined embarkation and debarkation process along with stunning design elements that pay homage to the Golden State, including a mural of the Sierra Nevada mountains and replicas of the Spruce Goose.

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Panorama will offer groundbreaking attractions like a bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare open-air recreation area, along with a vibrant Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations and the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa. Like its name implies, Carnival Panorama will also offer both indoor and al fresco food and beverage concepts, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Library Bar, and Bonsai Sushi.

Princess Introducing New Immersive Cultural Experiences
Beginning this summer, Princess Cruises guests sailing to the colorful Caribbean will experience a new immersive cultural experience with the"Rhythm of the Caribbean," offering an authentic dive into island life. From the moment guests step aboard their Caribbean cruise, they will be swept away in the lively spirit of the islands with enticing cuisine, signature cocktails, exhilarating entertainment, enrichment and authentic regional experiences.

"We passionately opened our hearts and minds to the diverse local experiences to design 'Rhythm of the Caribbean' ultimately allowing our guests to be inspired by the wonders of the Caribbean and instill a passion for discovering new cultures and destinations," said Rai Caluori, Princess Cruises executive vice president of guest experience and product development.

Guests can also take advantage of insider tips on must-do excursions at each port, dance beneath the stars to vibrant Caribbean rhythms and immerse themselves in one-of-a-kind cultural activities – from concerts to crafts, to enthralling presentations from local experts like shark and treasure hunters.

"Rhythm of the Caribbean" launches aboard Caribbean Princess in May 2018 and is scheduled to roll out to additional ships for the upcoming fall/winter Caribbean season. Offerings include:

• Caribbean Festival – presented in association with Princess Cruises' "Festivals of the World," the spirit of the Caribbean comes to life onboard as guests celebrate the local sights, sounds, and vibrant energy of the tropical islands with themed parties, enriching activities and lively musical performances.

• Authentic Island Cuisine - savor the diverse fusion of flavors drawn from the Caribbean's coasts, with dishes like Jamaican jerk chicken, delicious red snapper, creole black mussels, Puerto Rican mofongo, pineapple crème brulée and more.

• Colorful Caribbean Cocktails - from rum punch to tropical coolers, colorful coladas, refreshing mojitos and more, Princess Cruises is planning to combine the history of the region with locally inspired ingredients to create not just a Caribbean cocktail, but an adventure in a glass. Guests can even indulge in a regional rum tasting.

• Party Like a Local -sail away with an exciting high-energy party hosted poolside on the top deck – complete with live music, thrilling performers and lush cocktails. Or spend a night dancing under the vast Caribbean-starred sky at the Terrace Pool Gold Party – inspired by the tales of treasure-laden pirate ships and sunken gold.

• Parrots in the Piazza - meet local parrots and macaws up close and personal in the ship's Atrium while learning fun and interesting facts about their habits and habitat.

• Indoor Planetarium Experience - Princess Cruises and Discovery at SEA invite guests on a voyage to the stars. Venture into the night sky and view constellations, the moon, planets and spectacular galaxies from the Caribbean night sky.

• Stories from Deep Sea Explorers - meet real life treasure and shipwreck hunters onboard as they share first-hand tales of their incredible adventures exploring the Caribbean by boat, investigating legends of lost treasure and recovery operations. Or gain a greater understanding about the fascinating lives of the feared, yet highly misunderstood, apex predators of the sea during an onboard encounter from a real-life shark diver, Martin Graff (on select voyages).

• Pirate-Themed Activities - young landlubbers will enjoy some swashbucklin' fun as they learn how to talk like a pirate, dress like a pirate, and even dance like a pirate during a themed party for the whole family.

Princess sails year-round to the Caribbean, with a variety of cruises roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.80 - 2.71%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.92 - 3.62
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.44 - 3.36%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 52.44 - 5.38%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Few ocean liners or cruise ships end up preserved like the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Most end up in very different circumstances. Whatever happened to Cunard's famous Caronia of 1948?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Passengers in the top cabins aboard QE2 used to eat in the Queens Grill Restaurant. It wasn't always that way. What was the space occupied by the Queen's Grill called when QE2 first entered service?

Answer - When the QE2 first entered service the area now occupied by the queen's Grill was called the 736 Club..it was a bar by day and a club by night. This room was also to be Juliana's Discotheque and after that the casino. This room became the queen's Grill in 1972 when the first set of penthouses were added.
courtesy of Timothy Edgecomb


Cruise News - March 19, 2018

Seabourn Ovation Completes Final Sea Trials
Seabourn's newest vessel, Seabourn Ovation, achieved another important maritime milestone with the completion of its final round of sea trials in the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy.

Seabourn Ovation departed the Fincantieri shipyard on March 14 for four days at sea, where a team of officers and engineers tested the ship's technical and mechanical systems. Seabourn Ovation returned to the shipyard in Genoa on March 18, and staff and workers are putting the final touches on the ship. The delivery ceremony of the ship is on schedule to take place on April 27, 2018.

"We're now weeks away from delivery, and I'm very pleased with the progress and preparedness of the ship now that sea trials are complete," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "Our first revenue guests will board on May 5, and I know they will be excited to see this newest addition to the Seabourn fleet."

Seabourn Ovation will begin her maiden season with an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship's naming ceremony will take place on Friday, May 11, in the beautiful baroque harbour of Valletta, Malta. One of the world's highly-acclaimed actresses and singers, Elaine Paige, will serve as godmother and will name the ship during a spectacular ceremony that will light up the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site and the 2018 European Capital of Culture.

The ship will spend the majority of its maiden season cruising the waters of Northern Europe, offering a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian sailings between Copenhagen and Stockholm, which will include the line's signature three-day stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles.

Seabourn Ovation is the fifth ultra-luxury ship in the Seabourn fleet. With stunning contemporary interiors by design icon Adam D. Tihany, culinary expertise by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller, specially commissioned entertainment by Sir Tim Rice and an exciting program of onboard speakers, Ovation will sail on a variety of voyages in and around Europe between May and November 2018, hailing at ports throughout Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Ctrip, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to end SkySea Joint Venture
Ctrip.com International, Ltd. and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today that they are ending the SkySea Cruise Line joint venture ("SkySea") in the autumn of 2018. TUI AG's Marella Cruises has agreed to purchase Golden Era, with delivery expected in December 2018, subject to satisfaction of closing conditions. Ctrip and RCL currently each own a minority of SkySea, with the balance owned by SkySea management and a private equity fund.

SkySea Cruise Line, the first smart contemporary cruise line specifically developed for the Chinese market, has been operating SkySea Golden Era since May 2015. By the time of the final voyage, SkySea Cruise Line will have operated close to 300 cruises and carried nearly 500,000 guests in just over three years.

SkySea Cruise Line will continue operations with the final voyage to be confirmed in the coming weeks. During this time, the brand is committed to delivering the same outstanding cruise vacations to its guests and support to its travel agent partners and vendors as it has since its inception. SkySea's final China season will offer exciting theme cruises and truly memorable experiences for Golden Era vacationers.

The cruise market in China is still in early stages but holds big potential. In 2017, there were less than 3 million cruise passengers in China, which is much less than the over 10 million passengers for the US market. The cruise business on Ctrip group's platforms generated over 70% revenue growth year-over-year in 2017. The cruise business will continue to be an essential part of Ctrip's one-stop platform and the company will continue to work closely with all the cruise lines in the world, including Royal Caribbean, to better service the growing number of Chinese cruise travelers.

Through its Royal Caribbean International brand, RCL will continue to serve the Chinese market, with the largest fleet deployment in the region and a strong collaborative relationship with Ctrip.

Royal Caribbean Investging $900 Million In Fleet Upgrades
Royal Caribbean International is amping up vacation adventures by reimagining its fleet with a $900 million investment. The Royal Amplified program spans 10 ships in four years, and touches every facet of the guest experience on a lineup of the world’s most highly regarded and award-winning ships, including Oasis and Allure of the Seas, as well as all Freedom and Voyager Class ships. The program is set to introduce a wide range of innovative features and bold new experiences that will further build on Royal Caribbean’s best-in-class global vacation offering.

In developing Royal Amplified, the global cruise line analyzed multiple years of guest satisfaction ratings, venue utilization data and crew interviews to focus the major investment on key features and experiences that matter most to travelers. Full details on each ship’s new amenities will be revealed on a continuous basis in the next three years.

“Royal Amplified is built on our passion for innovation, relentless attention to detail and commitment to always exceeding our guests’ expectations,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We sail with more than five million guests worldwide each year, and recognize the need to always innovate and stay ahead of the curve. We have designed this program to wow our loyal guests while also attracting the next generation of adventurers.”

Iconic Pools and Attractions
With Royal Amplified, outside decks will be reimagined for thrill seekers to discover everything they want under the sun and beneath the stars. From pools specifically designed for family fun and relaxing spa-like environments, to lively activities day and night, more specialized pool spaces will catering to diverse preferences. Upper decks will be amped up and evolved with exciting new attractions and first-of-its-kind thrills such as Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience along with waterslides, and waterparks.

Elevated Dining and Nightlife
Guests crave cornerstone cuisines, like Italian, seafood and Mexican, and Royal Caribbean will deliver on that with the introduction of more experiential dining concepts. Travelers also will see more of the cruise line’s recently unveiled experiences, including Hooked Seafood, Royal Caribbean’s New England-style restaurant; Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, and family-friendly El Loco Fresh with popular Mexican fare. Additional casual, grab-and-go eateries to keep guests fueled between their adventures will also make their debut.

What’s more, adventurers will have the opportunity to drink, clink and live it up in distinct new bars and nightlife spots that deliver on the three tenets of a great night out: unique drinks, delicious food and live entertainment. This makes for more multidimensional nightlife venues offering food, live music and craft cocktails, like The Bamboo Room, and a signature outdoor Caribbean Bar. Other new concepts include a world-class music hall, a go-to spot for karaoke, and a lounge-style nightclub that will take the nightlife to a whole new level.

Redefined Short Caribbean Getaways
Royal Caribbean believes that vacations should provide maximum levels of adventure no matter how long or short. With quick getaways becoming increasingly popular and necessary for today’s traveler, the cruise line will ensure that its 3- and 4-night cruises are just as exceptional as longer escapes. With the Royal Amplified focus on innovative attractions, iconic pools, distinct bars and dining, guests can enjoy an ample variety of options and features that will allow them to escape from their routine and redefine their weekends.

Royal Caribbean is not only amping up the adventure on its ships with the Royal Amplified program. The cruise line is also set to raise the bar in vacation adventures on land with the introduction of its Perfect Day Island Collection of unrivaled private island destinations around the world. The first in the collection, Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas, scheduled for completion in fall 2019, will offer the ultimate in thrill and chill with a number of distinct experiences and iconic features giving guests first-time experiences that will top any bucket list. Four Royal Caribbean ships in the Royal Amplified program, departing from New York, Maryland and Florida, will call at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas, providing guests with a vacation like no other in the Caribbean.

A Look Ahead at Royal Amplified

• Freedom Class – Independence of the Seas will be the first ship in the Royal Amplified program to reveal multimillion-dollar upgrades, including Sky Pad, Battle for Planet Z, a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides and a new Escape Room: The Observatorium challenge, where competitors can solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. Not to mention the addition of new dining venues, from Fish and Ships – a seaside seafood spot with freshly battered fish and chips and other guest favorites – to Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Izumi Hibachi and Sushi and Sugar Beach. Independence will offer 3- to 14-night sailings from Southampton, England beginning in May 2018, before she heads across the pond in Nov. 2018 to sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on 4- to 5-night Caribbean cruises. Freedom of the Seas will be up next, debuting new features in 2020, followed by Liberty of the Seas in 2021.

• Voyager Class – In summer 2018, the transformation of Royal Caribbean’s short Caribbean cruises will begin with the $90 million amp-up of Mariner of the Seas. Mariner will redefine the quick getaway by giving guests the chance to take their weekends to new heights with the addition of new thrills, such as Sky Pad and laser tag; The Bamboo Room, a retro lounge with its tiki-chic décor; and the fun and vibrant Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. The program will continue in 2019 on sister ship Navigator of the Seas, which also will be redesigned to specifically cater to those who seek a quick getaway.

• Oasis Class – Oasis of the Seas will be completely reimagined in fall 2019, ten years after her revolutionary debut. The ship will gain new thrills, pools, bars and culinary creations, as well as introduce new restaurants and onboard adventures found on the newest Oasis Class ship, Symphony of the Seas. These enhancements will cascade to Allure of the Seas in spring 2020, making every ship in the class more adventurous than ever.

Holland America Line's Announces More Nieuw Statendam Details
Holland America Line's Nieuw Statendam is set to debut in December 2018; and when the ship sets sail from the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy it will feature distinct stateroom enhancements. The newest 2,666-guest Pinnacle-Class ship will have eight more staterooms than sister-ship Koningsdam, and all categories have been reimagined from top to bottom to showcase more thoughtful touches and innovative additions.

Among the most noticeable enhancements is the redesigned Pinnacle Suite — the largest on the ship — as well as reconfigured Family Staterooms. However, Nieuw Statendam still displays all stateroom hallmarks introduced on Koningsdam, including single-cruiser accommodations, as well as a wider range of suite configurations.

"As with every new ship, we've listened to guest feedback and made our own assessments that have led to exciting changes to Nieuw Statendam that will enhance our stateroom experience across every category," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Staterooms should be a sanctuary for our guests, and they are going to appreciate the elegance, functionality and extra-special touches to be found on our newest ship."

Nieuw Statendam adds five more ocean-view and three more interior staterooms, bringing the total stateroom count to 1,339. The ship features 103 ocean-view and 280 interior staterooms, ranging from 225 to 266 square feet. The ship will have 851 verandah or verandah spa accommodations, bringing the total staterooms that have a verandah, including suites, to 912.

The 32 family ocean-view staterooms range from 222 to 231 square feet and have been reconfigured to feature more living space to spread out and relax. Accommodating up to five guests, family staterooms offer special amenities including two bathrooms and extra closet space. The 12 single ocean-view staterooms for solo cruisers range from 127 to 172 square feet and are located on the forward main deck.

Aboard Nieuw Statendam, suites offer larger, more luxurious accommodations. A grand Pinnacle Suite is an expansive 1,290 square feet with a bedroom, living room, dining area, dressing room and private verandah with whirlpool. Nieuw Statendam's Pinnacle Suite was reconfigured to offer an open-concept design with the living room and dining area in one expansive space. Guests are greeted by a spacious grand entrance, refreshed color scheme and luxe touches like custom furniture and a double-sided television.

Forty-three Neptune Suites and two Neptune Spa Suites range from 465 to a generous 855 square feet. Guests in these accommodations (as well as the Pinnacle Suite) have access to the exclusive Neptune Lounge, a private place to relax, socialize with other suite guests and enjoy the personalized service of a concierge. Nieuw Statendam's Neptune Lounge was enlarged to allow for additional seating and more windows, giving a feeling of expanded openness. The fleetwide lounges provide worktables, a large screen television, a library, sofas and chairs, and complimentary refreshments throughout the day.

The 14 Signature Suites are up to 400 square feet in size, and the 104 Vista Suites range from 260 to 356 square feet. Signature and Vista suite guests receive many special amenities, including oversized bath towels, fresh flowers, a pillow menu, mini bar and one-touch phone concierge service.

Guests looking to focus on health and wellness during the cruise can book a Spa Suite or Verandah Spa, Outside Spa or Inside Spa stateroom, conveniently located near the Greenhouse Spa & Salon, and come with yoga mats for use during the voyage and an iPod docking station.

With sophisticated décor and amenities, suites and staterooms aboard Nieuw Statendam are welcoming sanctuaries featuring a host of modern details such as bedside USB ports, customized wood cabinets and luxurious frameless glass shower doors.

Additional amenities found in all suites and staterooms include Holland America Line's signature Mariner's Dream bed with finely woven cotton linens; plush bathrobes for use during the voyage; a premium massage showerhead; flat-panel TV with video-on-demand; mini fridge; complimentary fresh fruit on request; and fragrant soaps, lotions, shampoo and other bath amenities from Elemis Aromapure.

Due for delivery Dec. 1, 2018, Nieuw Statendam currently is under construction at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy. The 2,666-guest, 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. From familiar elements that reflect a rich heritage and classic style to state-of-the-art enhancements that chart a bold new course forward, guests on board Nieuw Statendam will delight in details that are artfully inspired and perfectly presented to create the ultimate Pinnacle-class experience.

While much of the ship's design will be similar to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten. The ship will feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-Class design: grand, light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Royal Caribbean Eyes Next Generation of Cruisers with Multibillion-Dollar Investment
Vacation time is precious, and travelers today have higher expectations and more options than ever. Consumers continue to invest more in experiences and make choices based on the range of emotional benefits gained from quality time away. Knowing this, Royal Caribbean International is making a multibillion-dollar investment in providing its loyal guests and the next generation of cruisers with the most advanced, customizable vacation adventures that will lead to rich, memory-making moments worth experiencing and repeating.

A cruise vacation is much more than the ship itself. In one of the company's most ambitious projects yet, Royal Caribbean is changing what it means to thrill and chill on vacation with the unveiling of its new Perfect Day Island Collection, a series of unrivaled and exclusive private island destinations around the world.

The first in the collection, Perfect Day at CocoCay, is a $200 million transformation of the cruise line's existing private island in The Bahamas that will deliver the ultimate family destination in the Caribbean.

Highlights include:

• Thrill Waterpark, featuring two brag-worthy water towers with 13 slides – the most slides found in any waterpark in the Caribbean – will include the 135-foot-tall Daredevil's Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America. In addition, the waterpark will feature the Caribbean's largest wave pool and a kid-friendly obstacle course pool.

• Oasis Lagoon, the Caribbean's largest freshwater pool, with a swim-up bar and in-pool loungers.

• A 1,600-foot zip line that crisscrosses the island at up to 50 feet high and features the only water landing in the Caribbean.

• A helium balloon, dubbed Up, Up and Away, floats up to 450 feet above the ground providing for the highest vantage point in The Bahamas.

• Two specially designed beaches – Chill Island for the ultimate beach escape, complete with pristine, crystal-clear tropical waters and white powder-like sand – and plentiful cabanas and daybeds for relaxation; and the action-packed South Beach with volleyball, beachside basketball, soccer, paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and zorbing in an inflatable zorb ball.

• The exclusive Coco Beach Club, will offer an upscale island experience that will feature the first overwater cabanas in The Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean ships departing from the U.S. states of New York, Maryland and Florida will call at Perfect Day at CocoCay, providing guests with vacation adventures like no other in the Caribbean. The island transformation will roll out in phases beginning September 2018 with the completion of a new pier, and by spring 2019 the majority of the island's experiences will be open. Coco Beach Club, the final phase, is set to open November 2019. Additional Perfect Day Island Collection destinations in Asia, Australia and the Caribbean will be announced at a later date.

"It's true that our ships are technological and engineering marvels in their own right and offer a multitude of unexpected experiences; but our destinations are an equally important part of the cruise vacation," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "We are introducing the Perfect Day Island Collection to deliver the most memorable vacation for adventure seekers on land and on board our ships. Once completed Perfect Day at CocoCay will be the ultimate family destination in the Caribbean."

Adding to recently announced digital innovations, including frictionless check-in, stateroom technology and a new mobile app, the cruise line has committed $900 million to reimagining its fleet through a new modernization effort called Royal Amplified. Spanning 10 ships in four years, the program will touch every facet of the guest experience, and introduce a wide range of innovative features and bold, new experiences, including specialized pool spaces, experiential dining and nightlife concepts, and first-of-its-kind attractions like Sky Pad, an out-of-this-world virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience. Royal Amplified reflects the company's passion for innovation, relentless attention to detail and commitment to delivering the best vacation in the world.

Royal Caribbean's increased popularity among millennials resulted in the cruise line being named "Cruise Line Brand of the Year" in The Harris Poll's 29th annual EquiTrend Study. This important, rising generation of travelers opts for more frequent and often shorter vacations, and Royal Caribbean is answering that call by amping up its short Caribbean getaways, setting a new industry standard. In summer 2018, Mariner of the Seas will undergo a $90 million modernization adding new thrills, including Sky Pad and a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience; The Bamboo Room, a retro lounge with tiki-chic décor; and the fun, vibrant Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. Mariner will sail 3- and 4-night cruises from Miami, FL redefining the weekend getaway.

Sister ship Navigator of the Seas will follow in 2019, and receive an even more extensive modernization before joining Mariner of the Seas to offer short escapes. In 2019, both ships will call extensively on Perfect Day at CocoCay, making for the most ultimate quick getaway.

Beginning in April 2018, Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Symphony of the Seas, will make waves not only as the world's largest cruise ship but also as the ultimate family vacation. True to her name, Symphony brings together a variety of new features, including the Ultimate Family Suite; new dining options – from fresh seafood to Mexican, thrilling entertainment and live-action adventure, such as the epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience.

In addition to Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has a robust lineup of new ships on the horizon, including the Quantum Ultra Class Spectrum of the Seas, an evolution of the Quantum Class of ships set to debut in 2019; a second Quantum Ultra Class ship in 2020, a fifth Oasis Class ship in 2021 and a new class known as Icon, with ships delivered in 2022 and 2024, both which will be largely powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fuel cells.

Cunard Announces Lineup of Experts Joining 2018 Transatlantic Space Week
Cunard has announced a line-up of expert speakers for its second annual Transatlantic Space Week. The 9-night voyage on the line's flagship, Queen Mary 2, departs New York October 7, 2018 and arrives in Southampton October 16, 2018. The voyage will once again coincide with International World Space Week, which has taken place from October 4, to October 10 ever since its United Nations declaration in 1999.

The transatlantic journey will feature a variety of space-themed experiences including talks from distinguished space explorers including:

• Dr. Jeffery Hoffman, a former NASA astronaut and Shuttle pilot. Hoffman made five space flights, becoming the first astronaut to log 1,000 hours of flight time aboard the Space Shuttle. He is now Professor of Aerospace Engineering in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

• Robin Scagell of the Royal Astronomical Society is a lifelong astronomer and the author of numerous books including Complete Guide to Stargazing, 101 Things to Spot in the Night Sky, The Urban Astronomy Guide.

• Dr Lawrence Kuznetz, a former flight controller during Apollo and a 40-year veteran of the space program. Kuznetz helped to build the space shuttles and is a former Life Science Experiment Manager for the International Space Station.

"Throughout Cunard's history the line has been synonymous with adventure and exploration, and we are excited to offer our guests the opportunity to learn about the vast wonders of space from some of the greatest explorers of our time," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "Our acclaimed Insights program creates a unique opportunity for our guests to interact with experts from around the world."

Queen Mary 2 is the only ship to have a full-sized planetarium, Illuminations, on board, offering a variety of constellation shows and virtual reality rides throughout the day on each Transatlantic Crossing. Cunard's partnership with the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) allows the ship to offer specially-curated shows putting distant stars and galaxies into focus and explaining what passengers can see in the night sky at different times of the year.

RCL Names Adam Goldstein as Vice Chairman
Royal Caribbean Cruises announced this week that it has appointed Adam Goldstein, one of the cruise industry's most respected leaders, to serve as vice chairman.

Goldstein, a 30-year RCL veteran, will assume his new post in May, after having served as RCL's president and chief operating officer since 2014.

RCL's chairman and CEO, Richard Fain, said, "Adam has played a pivotal role in our success since he joined the company in 1988. He has exerted a positive influence across the company and provides exemplary leadership in our industry and in the communities we serve. As Adam transitions to his new role, I look forward to working with him to continue to build on these successes."

Goldstein said: "It remains an incredible privilege to work with the men and women of RCL, who help create the memories of a lifetime for our guests, and who know the importance of doing good while we do well. I look forward to focusing my efforts in a few key areas where I can help advance the cause of both RCL and the cruise industry."

In his new role, Goldstein will continue to oversee RCL's global government relations and destination development efforts, and will represent the company in industry associations. Both areas have been a constant focus for Goldstein across a career filled with challenging assignments.

Goldstein began his career with RCL in 1988. He has served in numerous senior roles, including president and CEO of the Royal Caribbean International brand. He led the brand during the introduction of the Oasis- and Freedom-class ships and has been a driver of the company's global expansion.

Goldstein has also played a prominent role in industry affairs. He currently serves as chair of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and previously served as chair of Cruise Lines International Association (2015-16) and the Travel Industry Association of America (2001, now US Travel).

Goldstein, together with his family, has been deeply involved in concussion awareness issues. He also serves on the Energy Security Leadership Council, the President's Advisory Council of Princeton University and is actively involved with the INSEAD business school, where he received his MBA, as well as Harvard Law School, where he received his J.D.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.63 + 0.40%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 124.42 - 0.67%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.49 + 1.36%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.42 - 2.05%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Passengers in the top cabins aboard QE2 used to eat in the Queens Grill Restaurant. It wasn't always that way. What was the space occupied by the Queen's Grill called when QE2 first entered service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the inspiration for the distinctive funnel paint job on the ships of Carnival Cruise Line?

Answer - The ship had been previously owned by Canadian Pacific, and Carnival short on money only slightly altered the Canadian Pacific funnel logo.
courtesy of B. A. McKenzie


Cruise News - March 12, 2018

Silversea’s Silver Spirit Cut In Half As Part Of Lengthening Project
A great spectacle of naval engineering, Silversea’s Silver Spirit has been cut in two at Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo as part of her planned lengthening. A prebuilt 15-metre (49-feet) segment has been inserted and the ship is now being reconnected. With the aim of amplifying guests’ onboard experience, the rare lengthening project will create more space in public areas and will enhance Silver Spirit’s facilities. Welcomed by Leoluca Orlando, the Mayor of Palermo, members of the international press, representatives of Silversea and Fincantieri, and other VIP guests were in attendance at two celebratory ceremonies, as the ship’s transformation got underway in Sicily on March 10 and 11.

An air of excitement was cast over the shipyard as those present witnessed the dissection of the 36,009-ton ship, as well as the manoeuvering of the vast new mid-section into place. These important stages of the project ran with military precision, which pays testament to the quality of operations at the world-leading Fincantieri Shipyard. A rarely performed feat of maritime architecture, this type of lengthening has never before been employed for the extension of a luxury cruise ship.

“Witnessing these breathtaking phases of the Silver Spirit lengthening project has filled us with pride and excitement,” comments Barbara Muckermann, chief marketing officer of Silversea. “This ambitious project will amplify the onboard features that matter most to our guests. We are taking our flagship, Silver Muse – which was delivered by Fincantieri in April last year – as the point of inspiration for a fleet-wide renovation programme; the lengthening and refurbishment of Silver Spirit will replicate the modern elegance of our latest vessel to make for a more luxurious travelling experience. We are eager to share the new and improved layout of our cherished ship with our valued guests.”

Over 500 skilled workers will spend approximately 450,000 man hours completing the ambitious project, which is due to conclude on May 5, 2018, and will see Silver Spirit lengthened to 210.7m (691.3 ft.). Approximately 846 tons of steel, 110,000m (360,892 ft.) of cabling, and 8,000m (26,247 ft.) of piping will be put to use in the lengthening, as Silver Spirit’s capacity increases by roughly 12%, resulting in an overall dining capacity increase of 15% and a 20% increase in outdoor seating (from 200 to 266).

A new 8-restaurant configuration will replace the existing culinary infrastructure, with varying dining concepts introduced: Atlantide, Indochine, Silver Note, Spaccanapoli, will complement the pre-existing Seishin, La Dame, La Terrazza and The Grill.

Outside, the pool area on the sky deck will increase in length (from 30 to 45m / from 98 to 148 ft.) to offer additional space for relaxing under the sun and a new aerobics area will also be created. Inside, the Zagara Spa concept will be installed, as will a new free weights room which will complement the upgraded fitness centre. The Arts Café and Dolce Vita – two new, sophisticated public spaces – will improve the onboard entertainment options. All suites will be refurbished to ensure the trademark Silversea level of quality is maintained.

Prior to Silver Spirit’s arrival in Palermo, the ship docked in Chania, Crete, where Silversea made a charitable donation of used furniture to a number of the island’s worthy causes. As a destination visited by Silversea’s cruises and as an island in need, Chania was identified as a deserving recipient of the donation. In total, 11 containers were filled with 4,652 items from the ship – including sofas, chairs, curtains, computers, and more. The donated articles will be put to use for social welfare purposes in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other institutions across the island. Impacting on the lives of many, the gesture from Silversea will strengthen relations between the cruise company and the island’s authorities at a time when Chania’s social structures need all the help they can get.

Not only will Silver Spirit increase in length, but she will also increase in comfort. From an enhancement and a re-imagination of the ship’s public spaces to an increase in the number and quality of suites, each aspect of the lengthening project has been designed with guest enjoyment in mind. Based on the chic décor found aboard Silver Muse, Silver Spirit will benefit from beautiful interior design upgrades throughout.

Departing on May 6, 2018, Silver Spirit will recommence her service with a seven-day cruise between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Barcelona.

Viking's Fourth Ocean Ship Named In Shanghai
Viking today announced that its fourth ocean ship, Viking Sun, was officially named during a spectacular celebration on The Bund, in the heart of Shanghai. The ship is currently sailing Viking's sold-out 141-day World Cruise from Miami to London, and its stop in Shanghai marks the first time one of Viking's ocean ships has called in China. Viking Sun is also the first-ever cruise ship to be named on The Bund in Shanghai. Classified as a "small ship" by Cruise Critic, the 930-guest, 47,800-ton Viking Sun arrived in Shanghai this morning, navigating into the mouth of the Yangtze River and then up the Huangpu River into central Shanghai, where she received a warm welcome from local residents and boats in the harbor.

"I am very pleased to officially name our newest ship in Shanghai. We care deeply about tourism in China, and we have been bringing river cruise guests here since 2004," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "China is the home of Viking Sun's Godmother, Mrs. Yi Lou, and in the coming year, Shanghai will also welcome our fifth ship, Viking Orion. We look forward to introducing thousands of new travelers to the cultural treasures in Shanghai and throughout China."

After arriving today, Viking Sun was positioned at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, adjacent to a concert stage constructed specifically for the celebration. Viking's World Cruise guests and international dignitaries were treated to high-tech show and musical concert on the waterfront that paid tribute to the special friendship between Norway and China. On a giant wave-like screen built alongside the ship, a projected animation depicted the story of silk – the ancient trade that has formed a cultural bond between Norway and China. Shanghai television personality Michelle Wang served as master of ceremony and introduced musical performances from the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and acclaimed Chinese operatic tenor Dai Yuqiang, as well as Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø, who is widely considered one of the world's top crossover sopranos.

Mrs. Yi Lou, Vice President of China Merchant Bank Financial Leasing (CMBFL), served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Sun – a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years. In keeping with the naming custom, Mrs. Yi Lou also cut a ribbon that allowed a bottle of Norwegian aquavit to break on the ship's hull.

On March 9, Viking Sun will set sail from Shanghai for Southeast Asia and India, before making her way through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean – essentially following the route of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road or "One Belt One Road" Initiative. When the ship arrives in London on May 5, she will have visited five continents, 35 countries and 64 ports during her first World Cruise. Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe during the 2019 World Cruise, a 128-day itinerary from Miami to London.

While this is the first time one of Viking's ocean ships has called in China, the company has a long history with the China tourism industry. Operating river cruises on the Yangtze since 2004, Viking has been one of the largest sources of inbound travelers from North America. In 2016, Viking began offering a new river cruise product designed specifically for Chinese travelers who wish to travel to Europe. Sailing on Viking's award-winning Longships, Chinese travelers experience a Mandarin-exclusive environment – with all signage in Mandarin and all staff and tour guides fluent in Mandarin. These dedicated 190-guest Viking Longships are the first Mandarin exclusive hotel environments for Chinese travelers in Europe. And expanded for 2018, Viking will offer 100 sailings on the Rhine and Danube rivers, dedicated specifically for Chinese guests.

Norwegian Bliss Begins Her Conveyance Up River Ems
Norwegian Bliss, the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience, departed Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany last night local time, Tuesday, March 13, 2018 for her conveyance along the Ems River, and is arriving to Eemshaven, Netherlands today, Wednesday, March 14, 2018.

Norwegian Bliss completed another key milestone with only two months until her highly-anticipated arrival to Seattle, Washington where she will offer seven-day Alaska cruises throughout the summer.

"Today marks another historical moment for Norwegian Bliss, the most highly anticipated ship of the Norwegian Breakaway Plus class, the most successful class of our company's history" said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. "When she arrives into Seattle in June, guests will be excited to experience many new first-at-sea activities, including the largest two-level race track at sea, new dining experiences, such as Q Texas Smokehouse and Coco's a chocolate and treat shop, the Tony Award-Winning Broadway Show Jersey Boys and much more for guests to explore."

Measuring 994 feet long, 136 feet wide, and at a gross registered tonnage of 168,028, she embarked on her journey down the Ems River and up to the North Sea in reverse, making the narrow passage through Meyer Werft's sea lock, with less than four feet clearance. This very careful maneuver took about two hours at a speed of only 0.2 knots. The precise navigation included a team of experienced Ems River pilots, navigation officers, the yard captain and the local German waterway authorities.

After passing through the sea lock, Norwegian Bliss continued along the river stern first, which helps with the maneuverability of the ship and is a key component when navigating her through such narrow passages. Her journey to Eemshaven included cruising through the narrow passages of the Friesenbrücke Bridge in Weener; Jann Berghaus Bridge in Leer; and Ems-Barrier in Gandersum.

When she arrives to Eemshaven, she will take on additional provisions and crew members, before heading toward the North Sea for technical and nautical sea trials. This will be one of the final phases, before Norwegian Cruise Line takes delivery of their sixteenth ship on April 19, 2018 in Bremerhaven, Germany. Norwegian Bliss will then begin her passage across the Atlantic Ocean on April 21 and will arrive to the US on May 3, where she will begin her inaugural tour, the most extensive of any ship in Norwegian Cruise Line history. Events will take place in New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles, and then will conclude with a christening ceremony on May 30 at the new Pier 66 at the Port of Seattle in Washington State, followed by her inaugural cruise.

Following the preview events and christening, Norwegian Bliss will offer cruises to Alaska beginning June 2. She will spend her summer sailing seven-day cruises to Alaska, and fall season cruising to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. In winter of 2018 she will sail to the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

First Look at Disney’s Next Ship
The Disney Cruise Line fleet has some of the most beautiful ships at sea and the three newest vessels setting sail in 2021, 2022 and 2023 will be no exception. This first, early rendering depicts the magnificent exterior of the newest Disney ships that will elevate family cruise vacations to a whole new level.

In keeping with the distinct Disney Cruise Line style, the new ships will embody the elegance and romance of the golden age of ocean cruising with unique touches all their own. The new vessels will offer more innovation, new technologies, spectacular entertainment and more Disney stories and characters than ever before.

Ingenuity and innovation from stem to stern will amaze and delight Disney Cruise Line guests of all ages. Each new ship will be approximately 140,000 gross tons and each is currently planned to include about 1,250 guest staterooms.

The rendering was revealed today by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger at The Walt Disney Company’s annual shareholders meeting.

Holland America Line Premieres 'Planet Earth II in Concert'
Following the success of the highly acclaimed "Frozen Planet in Concert" that was produced in partnership with BBC Earth, Holland America Line is debuting "Planet Earth II in Concert" on nearly all ships in the fleet. Combining live music with a backdrop of breathtaking footage from the new, award-winning BBC Earth television series "Planet Earth II," the exclusive show immerses guests in the most spectacular landscapes and habitats on Earth, bringing them eye-to-eye with the animals on screen.

"Planet Earth II in Concert" is presented through Holland America Line's partnership with BBC Earth, where world-class education and entertainment are brought onboard through behind-the-scenes films and live multimedia shows — in addition to special feature cruises with masterclass presentations from the television teams that work behind scenes on the programs.

"Our partnership with BBC Earth has been an extraordinary journey to all corners of the globe, and we can't wait to take our guests into the world of 'Planet Earth II' with this stunning, new live concert," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "'Frozen Planet in Concert' has been one of our most popular shows, and 'Planet Earth II' will be the perfect encore. No one shows the spectacle of nature like BBC Earth."

During "Planet Earth II in Concert," guests rub shoulders with acrobatic primates in the jungles of Madagascar, race alongside hunting lions in the remote sandy deserts of Namibia, face stormy seas of the Great Southern Ocean with a family of penguins and tap their toes along with dancing grizzly bears — all accompanied by a live orchestra that plays the main theme music by Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer and the original music score by Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe for Bleeding Fingers Music.

"Planet Earth II in Concert" is rolling out across Eurodam, Koningsdam, Maasdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Rotterdam, Veendam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam, and will be on board all of those ships by the end of April 2018.

Alaska-bound ships will revert to showing "Alaska in Concert," developed last season with exclusive Alaska wildlife footage, for the duration of the season. For Holland America Line's 70th anniversary season in Alaska in 2017, BBC Earth launched the "Alaska in Concert" production that combined live music set against backdrop footage from the BBC Earth television series "Wild Alaska," where audiences experience the cycle of four seasons and see this place is as unforgiving as it is beautiful.

In addition to "Planet Earth II in Concert" and "Alaska in Concert," theater screenings of BBC Earth programs are featured on each sailing, and 45- to 60-minute "Inside Earth" films go behind the scenes and explore the making of BBC Earth content. "Frozen Planet in Concert" will continue to show on longer voyages as a second BBC Earth performance for guests.

Carnival Implements the World's First Multi-Orbit, Tri-Band Capable Shipboard Antenna System
Intellian, the world's leading provider of maritime satellite antenna systems, today announced that Carnival has installed Intellian's v240MT next generation tri-band and multi-orbit 2.4 meter antennas on-board several Carnival cruise ships enhancing the connectivity experience.

In the cruise sector, there is a real demand for innovative antenna technologies that can enable and support intense data-rich applications. In a world's first, Intellian's antennas will provide the Carnival cruise ships with seamless, high-speed connectivity that can truly power the cruise vessel's connectivity demands. Intellian's v240MT (2.4m) antennas, combined with the new Intelligent Mediator Solution, are specifically designed to deliver data rates exceeding 1 Gbps. This extraordinary level of performance, essentially giving passengers the same connectivity speeds they enjoy at home, has previously never been realised at sea.

Intellian's 2.4m class multi-band, multi-orbit MEO (Medium Earth Orbit) and GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit) broadband antennas, unlock access to virtually any satellite constellation within seconds. These frequency-agnostic and orbit-agnostic capabilities, enabled by Intellian's innovative antennas and Intelligent Mediator Solution, ensure that the equipment's capabilities are future-proof to customers seeking the fastest and most reliable broadband connectivity.

The new Intellian v240MT solution, provides the unique capability of switching between different satellite frequency bands (C-, Ku-, and Ka-band), as needed without any user intervention. This then enables the operator to select the best solution for the geographic location or for flexibility in achieving the highest throughput on virtually any satellite.

The new antennas track GEO satellites and have the capability to track MEO moving satellites. This world's first solution enables operation on virtually any satellite network, and ensures compatibility for the future as new satellite constellations are launched. To manage the switching between GEO and MEO, Intellian introduces the all-new Intelligent Mediator Solution. This incredibly sophisticated system allows for automatic switching between networks, satellites, and most importantly, provides support for Dual Data Centres. All these systems are connected on-board using Intellian Fiber Optic connections, meaning there is no potential for signal loss over the extended cable runs found on large cruise vessels. This is also much easier to retrofit than the heavier coax cables often used.

Supporting Dual Data Centers on the Carnival ships ensures uninterrupted connectivity. The identical mirrored systems, including a full complement of antenna controllers, Intelligent Mediators and satellite modems, instant changeover is completely automated with no manual intervention, an important factor in crew safety and vessel operations.

The new Intelligent Mediator handles switching from each satellite frequency band, as well as different orbits. If one antenna becomes blocked by a part of the ship, the system will automatically select the next best solution and switch without any loss of connection for the guests and crew on-board. All of this happens automatically, without any user intervention, this ensures no loss of data and no dropped calls.

This World's first solution, combined with the latest satellite technology, provides Carnival with truly Global coverage, a tri-band, multi-orbit, high-speed internet experience, as well as a redundant, resilient system that supports the current satellite networks whilst ensuring capability for future networks and operational areas.

Reza Rasoulian, Vice President of Global Connectivity at Carnival commented, "Even when enjoying a cruise vacation experience, we can - and should - expect to experience the same levels of connectivity we enjoy on land. Carnival has set the industry standard for what can be achieved today in delivering the ultimate guest connectivity experience, and we are pleased to have Intellian's technical and engineering prowess with strong focus on innovation in allowing us to realise this feat. Intellian was able to create the fastest and most flexible system that will provide a unique travel experience and deliver memorable vacations for our guests, enable our team members to communicate with friends and family back home, and power our on-board systems. We have collaborated closely with Intellian over the past three years to ensure that the solution will provide us with the ability and flexibility to attain bandwidth in a more efficient and ubiquitous manner, which is a critical component in our end to end connectivity strategy. This system is the new class leading standard, supporting the on-board networks that provide unprecedented levels of connectivity to our guests across Carnival brands."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.36 + 3.33%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.26 + 3.73%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.47 - 3.92%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.58 + 1.80%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the inspiration for the distinctive funnel paint job on the ships of Carnival Cruise Line?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
It's been a long time since a cruise ship or ocean liner was built in a United States ship yard. The last pair was built in the 1950's. What were the names of these ships and what line did they sail for?

Answer - The two vessels that were built in the United States in the 1950's were The Brazil & The Argentina & they sailed for the Moore Mc Cormack Line. They were a combination freighter/passenger ships. They were later converted to passenger ships.
courtesy of J & E McIntyre


Cruise News - March 5, 2018

Viking Enters Agreement With Fincantieri For Six Additional Ocean Ships
Viking today announced a new agreement with Fincantieri that could see the delivery of six additional ocean ships by 2027. The new understanding expands Viking's partnership with Fincantieri, raising the company's total ocean ship order and options to 16 – the highest-ever for a shipyard from a single owner. The agreement for the six additional ships, which will be delivered in 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, is subject to specific conditions.

"When we launched our first ocean ship in 2015, we set out to reinvent ocean cruising. We focus on the destination, and we do not cram our ships with gimmicks and waterslides. Our understated, elegant, award-winning ships are designed to simply enable our guests to better explore their destination," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "In our first two years of operation, we have been named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line, and this new order speaks to the positive response we have received from our guests and the industry. As we continue to expand our brand, we look forward to bringing guests to more destinations around the world and introducing them to the Viking way of exploration."

This announcement comes just prior to the naming of Viking's fourth ocean ship, Viking Sun on March 8 in Shanghai. The ship is currently sailing Viking's sold-out 141-day World Cruise from Miami to London, and its stop in Shanghai will mark the first time one of Viking's ocean ships has called in China. Viking Sun will also be the first-ever cruise ship to be named in Shanghai.

Classified as "small ships," Viking's all-veranda ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, have 465 staterooms and host 930 guests. Viking Sun is the newest addition to Viking's award-winning ocean fleet, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky. Viking will welcome two more sister ships in the next two years, including Viking Orion in June 2018. With the arrival of Viking Jupiter in 2019, Viking will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Ten additional ships are now on order for delivery starting in 2021, which will bring Viking's ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027.

Seabourn Unveils Culinary Options Aboard Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn announced this week that it is readying an exceptional menu of dining options to delight guests of its newest ship, Seabourn Ovation. Scheduled to launch in May 2018, the fifth ultra-luxury vessel in the Seabourn fleet will set the table for world-class, award-winning dining with five restaurants, each in keeping with the high quality and inventiveness that has earned the line wide praise from culinary observers.

Seabourn's world-class dining rivals the finest restaurants anywhere, and Seabourn Ovation will be no exception. The line's skilled chefs prepare gourmet dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients and take inspiration from regional flavors, including new artisan gelato. The highly talented culinary team are experts in offering dishes that are designed to satisfy a range of appetites. Whether indulging poolside, in the comfort of a private veranda or in a more formal setting, all dishes are carefully curated and plated with an artistic eye.

"Seabourn has continuously been recognized for the superb quality of our cuisine, and we will continue our leadership with the launch of Seabourn Ovation," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "As the ship spends its maiden season cruising the coasts and exploring the hidden gems of Northern Europe this summer, guests can look forward to a wonderful culinary experience."

With a selection of dishes inspired by Seabourn's partnership with world-renowned, Michelin-starred Chef Thomas Keller served in venues across the ship, including The Grill by Thomas Keller, and the remarkable design of on board restaurants by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, guests of Seabourn Ovation can look forward to the finest culinary experience on the high seas. Here's what's on the menu for Seabourn Ovation:

• New Artisan Gelato – The ship will feature the line's new milk- and fruit-based gelato, which will be made fresh daily and served across the vessel. Delivering a truly authentic product in both taste and texture, Seabourn's talented chefs visited and trained at Carpigiani University in Bologna, Italy -- widely recognized as the home of the leading gelato machine manufacturer in the industry – to perfect their knowledge of the history and techniques used for gelato making.

Guests can choose from a wide range of milk-based flavors, including Amarena Cherry, Amaretto, Dulce De Leche, Stracciatella, Sicilian Pistachio, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Bourbon Vanilla, and Cappuccino. The selection will also include fruit-based gelato flavors such as Blood Orange, Coconut, Kumquat, Mulberry, Wild Berry, Rhubarb, Yuzu, Black Currant, and Black Cherry. The gelato menu will also feature a local ingredient gelato as a "daily special" on voyages where the culinary team can procure the ingredients in select ports such as lemon when visiting the Amalfi Coast. Flavors will also include "no sugar added" gelato.

The new gelato program will launch in April on Seabourn Encore and be available fleetwide by early 2019.

• The Grill by Thomas Keller – Created via partnership with world-renowned American chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller, The Grill serves a timeless menu with updated versions of iconic dishes in an ambiance inspired by the classic '50s and '60s American restaurant. Seabourn chefs trained by Chef Keller's team create a dining experience like no other at sea, with memorable delights such as tableside prepared Classic Caesar Salad; Lobster Thermidor; Medallions of Elysian Fields Farm Lamb; and Meyer Lemon Meringue Tart. The wine list, personally curated by Chef Keller to complement each dish, runs more than 90 domestic and old-world labels, including many rare offerings. Advanced reservations are required for The Grill.

• Sushi – Sleek and unique with an identity all its own, Sushi is a standout destination for fresh, high-grade sushi created from the finest ingredients. Hot and cold offerings such as Salmon Tataki; Black King Fish Sashimi; and BBQ Eel Maki are available, and the sake menu features exceptional selections, many displayed against a lighted wall creating a work of art. Service is available through the day, including Bento boxes and select sushi features at lunch, with sushi chefs in action for all to see. This restaurant is only featured on Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation.

• The Restaurant – A fine-dining and open-seating gourmet experience, its extensive menus offer a wide variety of delectable choices and dishes prepared to order by the line's expert culinary team. Choose an appetizer, an entrée (or vegetarian option), and a dessert with selections such as Black Truffle Risotto & Poached Egg; Char Broiled Iberico Pork Chop; Crisp Polenta and Mushroom Cake; and Hot Coconut Soufflé. On select nights, The Restaurant features a selection of dishes by Thomas Keller as well as favorites from Seabourn's menu. The Restaurant also features an expansive premium wine selection showcased in an elegant glass wall.

• The Colonnade – This casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating is the spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared in open-kitchen style and offered via table service or lavish buffet. Look on as Seabourn chefs fashion an ever-changing array of regionally themed, bistro-style experiences such as Dungeness Crab Cakes; Roast Prime Rib of Beef; Potato & Beaufort Cheese Torte; and Baked New York Cheese Cake. Special theme nights feature Chef Keller-influenced family-style dinners that pay homage to his American childhood.

• The Patio – Relaxed, casual, and located right by the pool, The Patio offers luncheon buffets and a full dinner menu with salads, pastas, soups, and grilled specialties, plus freshly baked gourmet pizza. Don't miss Chef Keller's signature Napa Burger developed exclusively for Seabourn, or his artisanal Yountwurst hot-dog named for the hometown of The French Laundry, Ad Hoc, and the original Bouchon.

• In-Suite Dining – Seabourn Ovation offers an extensive menu of gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner items around the clock, including course by course dinner from The Restaurant, to be enjoyed in suite or on your private veranda.

• Cocktail Hour – Seabourn Ovation will feature seven lounges and bars with an accessible open-bar policy to ensure there is never a check to sign. Select venues also offer craft cocktails created exclusively for Seabourn by world-renowned mixologist Brian van Flandern. Every evening guests will find tapas served in the Observation Bar and a selection of canapes in The Club.

• Seabourn Square – The veritable heart of the ship, Seabourn Square offers freshly baked breakfast treats and afternoon snacks. The baristas onboard also roast coffee fresh each day and prepare a variety of coffee and tea selections.

• Afternoon Tea – Served daily in The Observation Bar, Afternoon Tea is welcome ritual for many guests and includes light bites such as scones and fresh baked cookies.

When dining with Seabourn, guests can come when they like, dine with whom they please, and be seated as they wish in most venues across the ship.

Carnival Names Godmother of Carnival Horizon
Queen Latifah – Grammy award-winning musical artist, acclaimed television and film actress, label president, author and entrepreneur – has been named the godmother to Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Carnival Horizon.

Latifah will participate in the ship’s official naming ceremony as well as a special “Lip Sync Battle: Horizon” showcase that is part of the line’s authentic shipboard reproduction of the hit Paramount Network series. The event will be held during an invitation-only overnight gala onboard Carnival Horizon in New York City on May 23, 2018.

Currently starring in the FOX series “STAR,” Latifah is an incredible talent earning an Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG Award nomination for her portrayal as Mama Morton in Chicago. She also received an Emmy nomination, a Golden Globe win and a SAG Award win for performances in both “Life Support” and “Bessie,” an HBO biopic on the legendary jazz artist Bessie Smith as well as accolades for her performance as the title character in NBC’s The Wiz Live!

The first hip-hop artist to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Latifah has earned six Grammy nominations and a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance. Her production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, has quickly grown to prominence, producing award-winning television shows, blockbuster hits and independent films for a variety of Hollywood studios.

”With her fun-loving spirit and positive, can-do attitude, Queen Latifah embodies our brand and knows how to ‘Choose Fun’ in everything she does,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Knowing that she is a long-time supporter of St. Jude and has performed and won ‘Lip Sync Battle’ made her the ideal candidate to serve as godmother to our newest ship,” she added.

”Carnival is an iconic American brand and it’s an honor to be named godmother of Carnival Horizon and take part in the event on May 23, honoring the special children of St. Jude – a cause that is very near and dear to my heart,” said Latifah.

The May 23 gala will recognize long-time Carnival partner St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with a check presentation from funds raised via various activities and events, both on board and ashore, leading up to the event. Additionally, Carnival will unveil special custom-designed artwork created by more than 30 St. Jude patients that will appear on the Carnival Horizon’s “Dreamscape,” a stunning three-deck-high LED sculpture that takes center stage in the ship’s atrium.

Following the event, Carnival Horizon begins her summer schedule from New York that runs through September followed by the launch year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami later that month.

Seabourn Names Godmother Of New Seabourn Ovation
One of the world's best-loved and most highly awarded actresses and singers, Elaine Paige, will serve as godmother to Seabourn's elegant new all-suite ship, Seabourn Ovation.

The naming ceremony will take place Friday, May 11, in the beautiful baroque harbour of Valletta, Malta during a spectacular ceremony that will light up the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site and the 2018 European Capital of Culture. Seabourn enjoys a multi-year partnership with UNESCO to support their efforts to protect World Heritage at sites around the world.

"Elaine's talents are boundless and, like Seabourn, the world is her stage and she is constantly seeking out new adventures," said Richard Meadows, President of Seabourn. "She has created so many memories for her audiences, just as we do for our guests, on every voyage they take. We are thrilled to have such an accomplished performer launch Seabourn Ovation on her maiden voyage."

"I am so honoured to have been asked to be Godmother to Seabourn Ovation," said Elaine Paige. "Seabourn's legendary service has the same DNA as a hit West End show: a dedicated cast of professionals who all come together to deliver a superb performance, whatever their role. I can't wait to board the beautiful Seabourn Ovation and send her off into the world!"

Elaine Paige's biography reads like a "who's who" of the stage musical. She originated the role of Eva Peron in Evita, followed by Grizabella in Cats and Florence in Chess. She has starred in more smash hit West End and Broadway musicals than anyone else of her generation - from Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Anything Goes, Sunset Boulevard, to The King & I; Sweeney Todd and Follies - and many more.

With an impressive and glittering roster of accolades, Elaine bears the unofficial title of "The First Lady of British Musical Theatre." She has defined musicals and has simply set the gold standard. In 1995, she was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to Musical Theatre by HM Queen Elizabeth II.

A thrilling live performer, Elaine has delighted audiences around the world, from The White House, The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and The Sydney Opera House to The Bolshoi, New York's Lincoln Center, and London's Royal Albert Hall. She has recorded 22 solo albums, has been featured on seven cast albums, and earned eight consecutive gold and four multi-platinum discs, achieving chart topping hits including signature tunes Don't Cry for Me Argentina and I Know Him So Well.

Her television work includes drama on BBC & ITV, her own series on SKY Arts, and more roles to be aired on BBC & ITV this year. She continues to host her BBC Radio 2 show, Elaine Paige On Sunday, regularly attracting 2.5 million listeners every week.

When not performing, Elaine works tirelessly for charities including The Children's Trust. She is President for the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust, an Ambassador to the Royal Voluntary Service and an Artistic Associate of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Other charities include Breast Cancer Campaign, the Royal Academy of Dance Silver Swans, and Support Dogs amongst many others.

Seabourn Ovation is the fifth ultra-luxury ship in the Seabourn fleet. With stunning contemporary interiors by design icon Adam D. Tihany, culinary expertise by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller, specially commissioned entertainment by Sir Tim Rice and an exciting program of on-board speakers, Ovation will sail on a variety of voyages in and around Europe between May and November 2018, hailing at ports throughout Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Cunard Unveils 2020 Voyage Program
Cunard today unveiled its 'Oceans of Discovery' voyage program featuring sailings from November 2019 through April 2020. Flagship liner Queen Mary 2 along with Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will call at 123 destinations in 48 different countries, including 10 exciting maiden calls in Japan, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Whether it is a two-night short break or a full 113-night world voyage, the Cunard fleet will offer a blend of iconic, world-class cities along with smaller, lesser-known but equally charming destinations. Oceans of Discovery, by Cunard includes:

• The World Voyage, by Cunard: Pioneering the concept of world cruising in 1922, Cunard has undertaken more world voyages and sent more ships around the globe than any other passenger line. In 2020, Queen Mary 2 will offer the only true World Voyage lasting between 99 and 113 nights.

• Grand Voyages, by Cunard: These itineraries offer more days at sea with the luxury of time, and call on the world's most iconic ports, creating unforgettable journeys.

• Regions of the World, by Cunard: These carefully curated voyages showcase the most fascinating regions on earth, balancing the exploration of shore days with the serenity of time at sea.

"Cunard's iconic three Queens will traverse the globe during our 2020 program," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "These carefully curated itineraries offer extended time in port so guests have more time to explore each destination, including many overnight stays featuring two full days of exploration in cities such as Cape Town, Auckland and Buenos Aires."

Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 will operate Cunard's only World Voyage in 2020 and will undertake her classic East-West Voyage to Australia and Asia, including the Mediterranean, Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Southern Africa. The World Cruise can be taken as a round-trip from either New York (113 nights) or London (99 nights). Shorter voyage options range in length from one-to-three weeks and can be combined in many ways allowing guests to create the ideal travel experience to the iconic cities of their choice.

The beginning of the voyage is routed via the Mediterranean Sea and Suez Canal to the Arabian Gulf and across the Indian Ocean, entering Asia via the Malacca Straits. From there Queen Mary 2 will head north via Vietnam to Hong Kong before heading south to Australia. The final leg of the voyage is the return to London from Australia, which is routed via South Africa. The voyage includes more overnight stays than in any of Queen Mary 2's world voyages in the past 10 years.

Queen Mary 2's 2020 deployment features:

• The World Voyage, by Cunard

• Grand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions of the World, by Cunard

• 35 voyage combinations ranging from 7 to 113 nights

• 38 ports in 26 countries

• Overnight stays in Haifa, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, and a double overnight in Cape Town

• Transits the Suez Canal

• 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Queen Elizabeth

In December 2019 and the first half of 2020, Queen Elizabeth will offer a series of round-trip voyages from international ports with deeper, richer and more regionally-focused itineraries. In between these deployments will be exotic grand voyages that capture the imagination and spirit of adventure in travel lovers across the world.

Queen Elizabeth will operate six round-trip voyages from Melbourne and two from Sydney, covering the popular regions of South Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand as well as a new itinerary that features the exotic paradise of Papua New Guinea with maiden calls in Conflict Island and Kiriwina. The ship will offer multiple sailings in Japan, making five maiden calls to Japanese ports in 2020.

Queen Elizabeth's 2020 deployment features:

• Grand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions of the World, by Cunard.

• 75 voyage combinations ranging from 2 to 49 nights

• 67 ports in 21 countries

• Overnight stays in Cape Town, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai

• Scenic cruising in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand, as well as Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage

• 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria's winter deployment consists of a series of European departures in November and December 2019, followed by an exotic winter escape round-trip experience to South America that offers a mix of relaxation and exploration. The ship will offer longer stays in ports such as Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, as well as overnights in Manaus, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Callao for guests to immerse themselves in the beauty and vibrancy that South America has to offer. Stunning scenic cruising will include the Amazon River, the Magellan Straits, Cape Horn, the Chilean Fjords and the Panama Canal.

Queen Victoria's 2020 deployment features:

• Grand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions of the World, by Cunard

• 23 voyage combinations ranging from 2 to 82 nights

• 41 ports in 20 countries

• Overnight stays in Manaus, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Callao

• Scenic cruising in the Amazon River, Panama Canal, Magellan Straits, around Cape Horn and the Chilean Fjords

• 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Princess Cruises and Fathom Travel Add Impact Sailings to Caribbean
Princess Cruises and Fathom Travel – two of 10 leading brands from Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company – have announced six additional impact sailings, now to be known as Travel Deep sailings, in 2018 to the Caribbean. The new voyages follow a highly successful inaugural sailing in January onboard Crown Princess with more than 150 guests joining locals for in-depth immersion into island life, a connection with local communities, a donation drop, and community care, making a tangible difference in their lives.

These unique group opportunities allow Princess Cruises guests to make an impact while traveling and provide assistance and support to local communities in a variety of ways such as on-shore opportunities to deeply connect with those living on the islands of the Caribbean, and to realize the rewards of lending a helping hand to those in need. Due to the success of the first group sailing onboard Crown Princess, the following six additional dates have been added aboard seven-day Princess Cruises Caribbean cruises:

• Regal Princess, departing March 18, 2018 (previously announced) -- Fort Lauderdale, Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Fort Lauderdale

• Caribbean Princess, departing May 26, 2018 (previously announced) -- Fort Lauderdale, Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Fort Lauderdale

• Caribbean Princess, departing June 30, 2018 -- Fort Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel, Fort Lauderdale

• Caribbean Princess, departing July 28, 2018 -- Fort Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel, Fort Lauderdale

• Caribbean Princess, departing August 18, 2018 -- Fort Lauderdale, Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Fort Lauderdale

• Royal Princess, departing November 17, 2018 -- Fort Lauderdale, Princess Cays, San Juan, Amber Cove, Grand Turk, Fort Lauderdale

"These additional Travel Deep group sailings allow us to offer our Princess Cruises guests more opportunities to make an impact within the communities in need while adding meaning and a deeper connection during their travels," said Tara Russell, Fathom president and Carnival Corporation global impact lead. "These purpose-driven groups allow travelers to get closer to the places we visit with a chance to come alongside local communities and have more authentic, immersive experiences with locals."

All Travel Deep group sailings include small group leaders and guides, unique onboard events and activities, as well as on-shore opportunities to deeply connect with those living on the islands of the Caribbean. Once booked, Princess Cruises guests who wish to take part e-mail community@fathom.org to join the group, after which they receive onboard credits and special invitations to Fathom Travel programming.

Highlights of the inaugural eight-day Crown Princess sailing that visited Antiqua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Amber Cove in January included an in-depth immersion into island life, a connection with local communities, a donation drop, and community care – with optional activities including rebuilding, beach clean-up, reforestation and therapy through arts:

• In St. Thomas, the Fathom Travel group on Crown Princess handed out nearly $14,000 worth of baby items, purchased by travelers, to more than 200 young families from the island. In the afternoon, the group helped the local Boys & Girls Club, where they built game tables, repainted facilities and heard stories from local children.

• St. Maarten offered a clean-up at Guana Bay, a beach important to three species of sea turtles that nest on the island. More than 1.5 tons of trash was collected and removed. In addition, travelers visited the National Institute of Art, where they interacted with locals and supported their ART HEALS program through participation, and a donation of $1,500.

• At Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, one group of 50 travelers took part in the construction of two homes by pouring concrete floors for families who lost their home during hurricanes. Another group of 50 travelers visited a local school and spent time visiting with students. Later, the group planted 400 seeds of mahogany and out-planted 90 seedlings.

• Many of the repairs and aid were funded by donations made at https://www.youcaring.com/puertoplata-991506, where all proceeds went directly to rebuilding the Loma de la Bestia community in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Those who cannot sail but still wish to offer support are encouraged to make donations online.

Holland America Revamps Onboard Retail Experience
Holland America Line is introducing a new retail experience on board its ships to better align with its ongoing brand evolution. The multi-faceted retail plan introduces new products and services, including an expanded logo collection, locally cultivated items, a new Fujifilm photo space and new supplier partnerships.

The retail rollout began with Veendam and will expand to Maasdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Prinsendam, Rotterdam, Westerdam and Zaandam over the coming months. To launch and oversee the new program, Patrick Kells joined Holland America Group as director of retail, reporting to Kelli Coleman, vice president, onboard revenue, photo and retail.

"Over the past several years we have significantly elevated our entertainment, enrichment and culinary programs to enhance the way our guests experience the global destinations we visit," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "This new retail strategy continues the path of introducing innovative, new shipboard opportunities to exceed the expectations of travelers today and in the future. With more premium products and selections that reflect the destinations they are visiting, plus an interactive and engaging new photo area, our guests will enjoy more meaningful keepsakes from their cruise."

Partnership with Fujifilm Makes Photo Souvenirs a Snap
Holland America Line is partnering with Fujifilm for a new, interactive, creative photo space on board that will enable guests to immediately print their photos from their mobile phones or memory cards using instant photo machines. Guests also will be able to share cruise memories by creating keepsake souvenirs featuring images from their cruise on product offerings such as photo books, mugs, shirts, keychains, magnets, mousepads and more. Keepsake mementos will be produced offsite and shipped to guests upon returning home from their cruise.

Curated Products and Services Offer New Retail Experience
The retail enhancement introduces an expanded Holland America Line logo collection featuring iconic products that will leave guests with lasting memories of their cruise. From custom apparel to locally made artworks, the new items go beyond traditional cruise logo souvenirs. The new shops will also feature co-branded merchandise from some of Holland America Line's partners including Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King's Blues Club, BBC Earth and America's Test Kitchen.

To bring the destinations on board in an authentic way, the new retail program will showcase unique products from local artisans and designers that capture the cultures visited around the world.

Holland America Line is looking to make shopping more engaging and meaningful, and interactive and enriching events will be offered so guests can see the different items and peruse the space with guidance from helpful yet unobtrusive shop staff.

New Supplier Elevates Products and Services
For the new retail experience, Holland America Line tapped into the expertise of California-based Sofia Fiori, a luxury brand recognized worldwide for its designs, to operate the premium line's new fine jewelry and watch area. Sophia Fiori is at the forefront of product innovation for jewelry and watches and delivers meaningful guest experiences with its sophisticated operation.

Sophia Fiori is internationally recognized as a jewelry stylist to the stars, with frequent appearances on the Hollywood red carpet including the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes. Sophia Fiori is also a diamond wholesaler and designer, controlling every facet of production including direct sourcing of premium diamonds and gemstones, jewelry design, manufacturing and distribution, allowing Holland America Line guests to truly customize their jewelry right on board.

Patrick Kells Named Director of Retail
Based in the cruise line's Seattle headquarters, Kells will lead the retail strategy for Holland America Line and oversee the onboard retail experience. He will report to Kelli Coleman, vice president, onboard revenue, photo and retail.

Prior to joining Holland America Line, Kells was with The Coca-Cola Company for 13 years, most recently as global director of retail merchandising. In that role, he was responsible for business strategy development, brand management, product development, store design and construction, visual merchandising and location planning. Previously he was with The Walt Disney Company. Kells holds an MBA and a bachelor's degree in business management.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.19 - 5.03%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 120.76 - 7.39%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.53 - 1.29%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.58 - 4.09%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
It's been a long time since a cruise ship or ocean liner was built in a United States ship yard. The last pair was built in the 1950's. What were the names of these ships and what line did they sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which famous liner came to the assistance of the Andrea Doria after she was struck by the Swedish liner Stockholm in 1956?

Answer - The French Line transatlantic liner "Ile de France" came to the rescue after the collision between the Italian liner "Andrea Doria" and the Swedish Liner "Stockholm" on July 25, 1956. The collision occured in fog off the Nantucket Shoals.
courtesy of Larry MacDonald


Cruise News - February 26, 2018

New Ship Ordered for AIDA Cruises
Carnival Corporation today announced it has signed a shipbuilding contract for a third next-generation cruise ship for its rapidly growing AIDA Cruises brand, the leading cruise line in Germany, which is the largest and fastest-growing cruise market in Europe.

Scheduled for delivery in 2023, the new 180,000-ton ship, being built by leading German shipbuilder Meyer Werft GmbH at its shipyard in Papenburg, will include an estimated 2,700 staterooms and extensive selection of popular onboard features. Featuring Carnival Corporation's exclusive "green cruising" design and the marine industry's most advanced fuel technology, the ship will also be fully powered at sea and in port by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel, which will significantly reduce air emissions.

With today's announcement, AIDA Cruises now has a total of three LNG ships on order. AIDAnova is scheduled to join AIDA Cruises' fleet in December as the first ship of its new generation of LNG vessels, and the first-ever cruise ship in the world to be fully powered by LNG. The second ship of this series will be christened in the spring of 2021.

The three next-generation LNG ships for AIDA Cruises are part of Carnival Corporation's ongoing fleet enhancement strategy with 20 new ships scheduled for delivery between 2018 and 2023 – creating excitement in the vacation market and continuing to exceed guest expectations while accelerating demand for cruising, the fastest growing segment in the vacation industry.

"On board our ships, which travel the most beautiful destinations worldwide, we offer the greatest holiday variety on the German market with a complete package of culture, entertainment, sports, wellness and culinary delights," said Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises. "The interest in AIDAnova, the first ship of our new generation, is enormous, even before the commissioning later this year. With today's new shipbuilding contract, we will ensure the further growth of the cruise market in the long term and will be able to provide excellent cruises for this steadily growing holiday segment in the future as well. Thanks to an even wider variety on board, we are opening up completely new possibilities for attracting new target groups across generations for this unique holiday experience."

Starting with AIDAnova, the next generation ship class will combine onboard innovations with evolutions of successful product features already offered on the existing fleet to further enhance the guest experience. More than 40 restaurants and bars on board provide guests with an opportunity to enjoy a new level of world-class dining experiences and culinary trends. Versatile entertainment offerings include an enhanced theatrium, an onboard TV studio and new event restaurants. Guests also have the choice of more than 20 different cabin types – from the penthouse suite to generously sized family staterooms or single staterooms with a balcony.

With its three new LNG ships on the horizon, AIDA Cruises continues to pursue its pioneering mission of "green cruising" and sustainable operations. As of 2023, more than half of AIDA Cruises' guests will be spending their vacation on a cruise ship that runs fully or partially on LNG. The use of LNG for ship power prevents emissions of particulate matter and sulfur oxides almost entirely at sea and in port. It also significantly reduces the emission of nitrogen oxides and CO2.

Tim Meyer, managing director of Meyer Werft, said: "This is the 10th AIDA Cruises ship we are building in Papenburg, emphasizing a long-term partnership between AIDA Cruises and Meyer Werft. AIDAnova and the following two sister ships feature the latest technology focused on sustainability and energy efficiency."

In total, Carnival Corporation has agreements in place with leading German and Finnish shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku to build nine LNG-powered cruise ships across four of its nine global cruise brands with delivery dates between 2018 and 2023 – three for AIDA Cruises with expected delivery dates between 2018 and 2023, two for Costa Cruises with expected delivery dates in 2019 and 2021, two for P&O Cruises UK with expected delivery dates in 2020 and 2022 and two for Carnival Cruise Line with expected delivery dates in 2020 and 2022.

Carnival To Offer New Cruises To Cuba From Miami In 2019
Carnival Cruise Line will offer 17 new sailings to Cuba aboard Carnival Sensation in 2019. The five-day Cuba voyages will be the line's first to operate round-trip from Miami and feature a day-long call in Havana as well as stops at popular Caribbean and Bahamian ports, including Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, Nassau, and the private destinations of Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays.

The voyages complement a series of voyages to Cuba departing from Tampa aboard Carnival Paradise taking place in 2018-19.

"Our inaugural cruises to Cuba aboard Carnival Paradise from Tampa were met with exceptional guest response and we're thrilled to expand upon the program with our first Cuba cruises from Miami featuring Havana and some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean and The Bahamas," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Cuba is a sought-after destination and we're delighted to provide our guests with even more opportunities to experience and explore this fascinating island," she added.

Carnival Sensation's Cuba schedule includes:

• four five-day sailings to Havana and Grand Turk departing May 20, Sept. 9, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16, 2019

• five five-day voyages featuring Havana, Nassau and Half Moon Cay departing June 17, July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 23, and Nov. 4, 2019

• a five-day cruise to Havana, Nassau and Princess Cays departing April 22, 2019

• seven five-day cruises to Havana and Grand Cayman departing May 6, June 3, July 1 and 29, Aug. 26, Oct. 7 and Dec. 2, 2019

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Sensation underwent an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock last year that added a variety of popular food and beverage concepts, including Guy's Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic tacos and burritos, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, and the Cherry on Top sweets shop.

These complement the ship's diverse array of onboard features, including a WaterWorks aqua park, a Serenity adults-only retreat, 24-hour pizzeria, fun supervised programs for kids in three age groups, and the Seuss at Sea program operated exclusively with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Guests sailing on Carnival's Cuba cruises can select from nearly 20 different shore excursion experiences that showcase the island's vibrant culture, majestic beauty and centuries-old architectural landmarks. A variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment, including the sizzling Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance Playlist Productions show, Havana-inspired deck parties, trivia contests and salsa lessons, are also offered. There's also a lecturer on board who discusses the country's rich history and culture.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Cunard Partners With Rocky Mountaineer to Offer Guests Luxury by Rail
Luxury cruise brand Cunard has announced its partnership with Rocky Mountaineer to offer passengers unmatched experiences in Alaska. Recently it was announced that the legendary Cunard experience will return to Alaska in 2019, for the first time in over two decades.

The Rocky Mountaineer railroad is the only of its kind to travel its historic routes and is celebrated for the majestic views of mountains and curious wildlife. Since 1990, Rocky Mountaineer has welcomed over 2 million passengers. The supreme experience onboard the all-dome ?eet offers opulent, historic storytelling, top-notch cuisine, and a first-hand look at the vast and untouched wild beauty that lies in the Pacific Northwest.

"As we return to Alaska for the first time in twenty years, we are excited to partner with the Rocky Mountaineer, ensuring our passengers enjoy the remarkable scenery and Alaskan wildlife in the utmost of luxury both by land and by sea," said Josh Leibowitz, Senior VP, Cunard North America.

Rocky Mountaineer tours are offered pre- and post-voyage and includes either three or five nights' accommodation and two full days aboard the train. The expedition travels through a spectacular array of scenery with glacier and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, through winding river canyons, mountain passes and remarkable tunnels. Highlights include the Continental Divide, Kicking Horse Canyon, Spiral Tunnels and the rushing waters of Hell's Gate in the Fraser Canyon.

Carnival Paradise Undergoing Massive, Month-Long Renovation
Carnival Paradise is undergoing an extensive, multi-million-dollar refurbishment that will add a wide variety of spaces and innovations, including a spectacular water park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies to existing staterooms, and an a host of exciting food and beverage concepts.

Following the month-long dry dock, which takes place in Freeport, The Bahamas, Carnival Paradise will resume its year-round schedule of four- to eight-day cruises from Tampa, Fla., March 26, 2018.

The new features include:

• Guy's Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool.

• Camp Ocean: a colorful marine-inspired play area designed for kids ages 2-11 that showcases the wonders of the sea through fun and engaging interiors and more than 200 ocean-themed activities, including arts and crafts, science-oriented programming, and more.

• New Cabins, Stateroom Enhancements: Thirty-eight cabins have been added – two Grand Vista suites offering floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic ocean view cabins and 12 interior accommodations. Additionally, private verandahs have been added to 98 existing staterooms, creatingspacious new 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All staterooms will offer new island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by Carnival Paradise's tropical itineraries.

• WaterWorks Aqua Park: Located on Verandah Deck, this expansive all-ages water park features an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of exhilarating twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a splash zone for kids.

• Miniature Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14, providing a fun and relaxing pastime for families to enjoy in the fresh sea air.

• Retail and Photo Enhancements: The ship's retail shops are being completely reimagined with a new design and enhanced product offerings with multiple brand boutiques, including Pandora and Guess. A guest favorite, the Cherry on Top sweets shop, is also being added, while the printed photo gallery is being replaced with a digital Pixels-branded platform that allows guests to identify and purchase images via their smartphones or at a nearby kiosk.

Carnival Paradise's Tampa-based schedule includes four-day cruises to Cozumel and five-day cruises to Cozumel or Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Grand Cayman or Key West. The ship also sails to Cuba with four-day cruises visiting Havana, five-day cruises calling at Havana and Cozumel or Key West, and eight-day voyages to Havana, Key West and Grand Cayman.

Celebrity Cruises Announce Partnership With Hollywood Hot Glass
Taking the onboard experience to an entirely new level, Celebrity Cruises is pleased to announce the addition of Hollywood Hot Glass onboard their award winning ships, which expands on the brand's previous hot glass programming with a brand new hands-on element.

Hollywood Hot Glass will host a live glassblowing demonstration on The Lawn Club at the beginning of participating sailings. Following the live demo, guests will be able to register for their own Hot Glass Class, available throughout their itinerary, where they'll work with a Hot Glass Instructor to create their very own piece of art.

"We're always working to identify new and exciting opportunities for our guests on board, and we really feel that our new partnership with Hollywood Hot Glass is the perfect evolution of our past hot glass offering," said Brian Abel, Vice President, Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises.

"It is a true honor to partner with Celebrity Cruises. We are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to share our passion for glass through our Hot Glass Class program aboard three of the beautiful Celebrity ships. To witness the pure joy the hands on glass-making experience brings everyone is by far the most rewarding aspect of our program today," said Brenna Baker Brown, Founder of Hollywood Hot Glass.

In each class, guests will have the opportunity to choose from eight unique pieces - including a vase, starfish, and a heart, starting at $40 per piece - and choose from a variety of colors. The gorgeous finished product requires a 12-hour cool down period, after which guests are welcome to take their piece home with them.

The new experience will be featured on three ships in the Celebrity fleet and will launch on Celebrity Equinox beginning February 17, 2018, while Celebrity Eclipse will begin offering the program on April 1, 2018, and Celebrity Solstice on June 15, 2018.

Ovation of the Seas Hosts Australia’s Biggest Game of Hide and Seek
Australia’s biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, today hosted Australia’s Biggest Game of Hide and Seek, with Ben Harrison, age 26, from Hornsby NSW, taking home the AUD$10,000 prize, and a family cruise for four, all thanks to his stealthy hiding techniques.

In an Australian first, Aussies aged eight and over boarded the megaship docked in Sydney Harbour to play a huge version of the iconic childhood game, as part of a unique competition to celebrate 10 years of Royal Caribbean sailing Down Under.

“What an amazing day it was. The first ever official game of Hide and Seek on any ship in Australia, and I think it was a massive triumph”, said Ovation of the Seas’ Cruise Director, Joff Eaton.

“Ovation of the Seas is the biggest, newest and most modern cruise ship ever to sail Australian waters, and with features like bumper cars, a Bionic Bar, rock-climbing wall, iFly sky-diving tunnel, FlowRider surf simulator and the North Star viewing capsule, she really was the ultimate location for this supersized game,” continued Joff.

Two games were held – one for adults aged 15 and over and another for kids aged 8-14. Competitors were picked from over 20,000 entrants and came from far and wide; NSW, QLD, NT, SA, WA, VIC - to seek out the best hiding spots onboard in an attempt to outwit the “Seekers”, Australia’s national Hide & Seek team The Nascondingos, who competed in the 2017 annual World Championships in Italy.

12-year-old Ryan S from Kincup in regional QLD took home the kids’ prize which was a family cruise for four, after hiding from the Nascondingos under a couch. Runner up Benjamin H from NSW is also taking his family on a holiday.

Winner of the adults’ game, Ben Harrison aka ‘Big Red’ used sheer distance as his tactic, attempting to get as far away from home base as he could in the allocated hiding time. He chose curtains to hide under in rounds one and two, and in the third – his winning spot – Ben managed to squeeze underneath a table that was concealed by a curtain. After being awarded his novelty size check, Ben said “It’s a pretty big accomplishment. I am very surprised, I still have butterflies in my stomach. I’m very very happy”. He and fiancé Jess will be putting the $10,000 towards their wedding at the end of the year, and will use the cruise for their honeymoon.

The Nascondingos have heralded it their hardest game yet, “There was just a lot of ground to cover. We’re short twitch athletes and we’re used to five-minute rounds. These 20 minute rounds covering eight football fields really put us under pressure. It was far more challenging than we thought it would be. Curtain and couch hiding were the most popular spots” said Alan Jones, Nascondingo’s Captain.

From attempts to host unofficial games in a certain Swedish furniture store, to a campaign for Hide and Seek to appear as an official exhibition sport in Tokyo in 2020, the event took place as the game gains traction as a serious sport among people of all ages.

MC for the day, TV personality Jason Dundas said of the frivolity; “I’ve been travelling the world filming Getaway from over 100 countries for 11 years and I’ve never been on a cooler ship and had more of a fun experience onboard in my life”.

With the ship almost to themselves – minus nearly 5000 guests –the unique competition encapsulates the spirit of Royal Caribbean’s new “Come Seek” brand campaign, inviting Australians to re-consider everything they think they know about cruising – and to come onboard and see for themselves.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.64 - 1.24%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 130.40 - 0.97%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.55 - 3.13%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 57.95 - 1.96%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former Swedish-American liner of 1966 is alive and well sailing today as a cruise ship? What is her current name and what was done in 1978 that forever changed her appearance?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the first new build for Carnival Cruise Lines and what year did she enter service?

Answer - The first new build for Carnival was the Tropicale in 1981.
courtesy of Nigel Kibel


Cruise News - February 19, 2018

Twenty Three Passengers Kicked Off Carnival Legend For Fighting
A 10-day Carnival Legend voyage was forced to make an emergency stop in Eden, New South Wales where 23 passengers were removed from the ship after they began fighting with other passengers and staff members. Australian police met the ship and unloaded the unruly passengers.

A statement released by the cruise line after the incident noted that "We have a zero-tolerance approach to excessive behavior that affects other guests. In line with this policy, we cooperated fully with local authorities in Australia to remove a large family group who had been involved in disruptive acts aboard the vessel.”

The cruise line also said that “Our security team responded in several instances to extremely unruly behavior by these guests while the ship was at sea. One particular altercation in the nightclub began when the group physically attacked other guests. The actions seen on the video by our security team are not in line with our values and policies. We are conducting a full investigation and will take appropriate corrective action as necessary.”

“All guests were disembarked Saturday, February 17 from the ship in Melbourne, Australia following completion of their 10-day South Pacific cruise. They have been offered a 25 percent future cruise credit as a goodwill gesture.”

“We sincerely regret that the unruly conduct and actions of the passengers removed from the ship in Australia may have prevented some of our guests from fully enjoying their cruise.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Float Out Of Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Bliss, the third of Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway Plus class, emerged from the Meyer Werft building dock in Papenburg, Germany on Saturday, February 17, representing a major milestone in the vessel's construction. The ship will remain in the shipyard port for the final phase of construction, until its conveyance down the River Ems towards the North Sea, scheduled for mid-March. During this time, the first crewmembers will move into their staterooms on board, begin their training, and familiarize themselves with the ship - readying her for the first guests to arrive after delivery in 60 days, on April 19.

The construction of the ship began in October 2016 with the traditional steel cutting ceremony launching the 12th Norwegian Cruise Line ship to be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard. It is the third ship in the Breakaway Plus class, measuring 1,082 feet in length by 136 feet wide, with gross tonnage of 167,800 and accommodating approximately 4,000 guests. Part of the excitement of this float out will be the public debut of the ship's signature hull artwork designed by world-renowned marine life artist and conservationist, Wyland. Best known for his marine life paintings, sculptures and grand scale murals, or "Whaling Walls," Norwegian Bliss' hull design is named "Cruising with the Whales" and features a stunning image of a mother humpback whale and her calf as the centerpiece of the design, representing the beauty of Alaska's wildlife.

Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience, including the 180-degree Observation Lounge where guests can enjoy Norwegian's most expansive views at sea. She will also be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make her debut in Seattle, with cruises beginning May 2018. Norwegian Bliss will offer weekly seven-day cruises to see America's last frontier with ports-of-call including Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.

"Our partners at Meyer Werft have done an excellent job realizing our vision for a ship designed to experience Alaska and the Caribbean like never before," said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer. "We are counting down the days until her official debut in Seattle this summer, where guests will be able to race around the world's largest two-level race track at sea against the backdrop of Alaska'swild frontier, and enjoy other first-at-sea experiences."

Following preview events in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles, Norwegian Bliss will sail into Seattle for her official christening on May 30, with summer cruises to Alaska beginning June 2. She will spend her summer seasons with seven-day cruises to Alaska, and fall seasons sailing to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. In winter of 2018 she will sail to the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Princess Cruises Completes Renovations to Private Island Princess Cays
Princess Cays, an exclusive island destination for Princess Cruises guests, now offers the ultimate fun-in-the-sun experience with program enhancements, renovated areas and newly defined "surfing" with MedallionNet Wi-Fi, the only cruise industry private island to offer connectivity ashore.

Princess Cays was ranked among the "Top Cruise Line Private Island Destinations" for 2017. Located on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera in the outer Bahamas, Princess Cays has offered a beachside hideaway to guests since 1992. The beach is situated on approximately 40 acres, including more than a mile and a half of pristine, white-sand shoreline and is a featured call on Princess' Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

"For more than 25 years, Princess guests have lauded Princess Cays as one of their favorite spots on their Caribbean cruise," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "With new and improved island offerings and the addition of MedallionNet Wi-Fi ashore, guests enjoy a memorable beach experience and can easily share their adventures with friends and family back home or stream their favorite show or sports event while relaxing beachside."

Additional Princess Cays enhancements include new shore excursions, refurbished retail and bar areas, shopping, landscape and infrastructure:

• Shore Excursions – On February 17, we introduce our new Lagoon Clear-Bottom Kayaking Adventure, a guided paddle through the Island's lagoon that allows guests to explore the flora and fauna of this unique habitat. In addition, Island Bicycle Adventure offers guests Princess Cays' scenery and history with a leisurely bike ride to some of the town's popular sites. Construction of a new "Davy Jones" water sports rental equipment provides snorkeling and water gear. And new Stingray Beach Encounter allows guests to feed, touch and hold live stingrays. Animal trainers teach guests interesting facts about the behavior of these animals as they reach out to touch their soft wings.

• Princess Cays Shopping – Princess guests enjoy adding meaningful mementos to their journey by visiting the new nautical-themed and "pick-a-pearl" jewelry section within the Bahama Treasure store.

• New Marina – Completion of the marina expansion, including new channel and turning basin depth accommodate larger tenders and smoother disembarkation and embarkation of guests, including a shaded security pre-clearance area.

• Guest Experience Improvements – Guests also enjoy a new information booth with shaded waiting lounge area and a new public announcement and music system; newly painted structures both inside and out with tropical pastel colors; guest services station for towel and water distributions at the Welcome Center; extensive landscaping of all guest areas, including additional planters and newly planted palm trees; and refitted beach bungalows.

Carnival Fascination Retirms to Service Following Multi-Million-Dollar Dry Dock
Carnival Fascination resumed its year-round schedule of seven-day southern Caribbean departures from San Juan this past Sunday, following an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that added a variety of popular food and beverage concepts.

On its San Juan-based program, Carnival Fascination departs every Sunday on week-long voyages visiting five tropical destinations: St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, each of which is home to world-class beaches, centuries-old historical sites, unique and exciting shoreside experiences and array of shopping and dining opportunities.

"We're delighted that the Carnival Fascination has returned to year-round sailing from San Juan better than ever with a wide range of great new dining, beverage and retail options for our guests to enjoy," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line who noted that prior to the dry dock the ship was chartered by FEMA to house relief workers in St. Croix.

The new spaces include:

• Guy's Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool.

• Cherry on Top: The "sweetest spot on board," Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.

• Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail "pharmacy" that's the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who "prescribe" concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests' own custom-created cocktails.

• Bonsai Sushi Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

These complement Carnival Fascination's popular onboard features like a luxurious 12,000-square-foot health and wellness center, a Serenity adults-only retreat, and an array of entertainment choices including the Punchliner Comedy Club, Playlist Productions shows, and Hasbro, The Game Show, with larger-than-life adaptations of the company's iconic games.

The ship's family-friendly options include the Seuss at Sea program, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, along with fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups – Camp Ocean (2-11), Circle "C" (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17) and a WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long Twister slide.

Cunard to Commemorate Service of World War II Veterans on July 20 Transatlantic Crossing
In partnership with The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation, Cunard will again pay tribute to the forgotten heroes of World War II, honoring our nation's veterans with a unique enrichment program on board a Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossing that will travel from New York to London on July 20-27, 2018.

On this 7-night voyage, guests will have the opportunity to attend lectures and interact with several WWII veterans, hearing first-hand about their experiences during America's involvement in the war. From the "Battle of the Atlantic," to the conflicts in Normandy and Pearl Harbor, these distinguished war heroes will engage in discussions and Q&A's, giving guests a very personal glimpse into the human elements of wartime service.

"Last year our guests were spellbound by the veterans' moving personal accounts of their wartime service, resulting in standing ovations every day," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "Cunard prides itself on offering one-of-a-kind, world class entertainment and enrichment programs, and we are honored to welcome back The Greatest Generations Foundation on the July 20th Transatlantic Crossing."

World War II veterans scheduled to be on board will include:

• Steve Melnikoff, who experienced the full horrors of Normandy when he served in 1st Battalion, 175th Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division and who earned three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts for his service.

• Stuart Hedley, who served in the United States Navy and recalls leaping from his ship and into the water during Pearl Harbor and coming up amid debris and burning oil and swimming for his life towards the shoreline.

• Harold Angle, who served as First Sergeant E-5 in the 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, and who marched down the Champs-Elysées on August 29, 1944 in the Liberation of Paris.

• Michael Ganitch, who served as a Senior Chief Quartermaster in the United States Navy and witnessed Pearl Harbor.

• James Blane, Corporal of the 4th Marine Division of the United States Marine Corps and served in the battles of Kwajalein (Roi-Namur), Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima.

• Peter DuPre, who served as a medic in the 114th General Hospital Unit in Kidderminster, England during WWII, where he treated wounded servicemen from all areas of Europe, including those who had been wounded during the Battle of the Bulge.

• John Foy, who served in the 87th Infantry Division joining General George Patton's Third Army in liberating Europe. John served as a front-line machine gunner in the Battle of Northern France and later the Battle of the Bulge

• Kenneth Barclay, who served as Lieutenant Colonel O-5 in the "Fighting 69th" Regiment, where he served in Hawaii, Saipan and Okinawa during the war.

Q&A's and other discussions with the World War II veterans will cover topics including:

• D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, 1944

• The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944

• I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941

• Miracle at Midway, 1942

• Blood Sand: The Battle for Iwo Jima, 1945

• Okinawa 1945: The Last Epic Struggle of World War II

Jeremy Hubbard, current co-anchor of FOX31 Denver News will join the voyage and act as a moderator of the panels and lectures. Prior to joining the FOX31 Denver News team, Hubbard, a native of western Colorado, worked as a New York-based correspondent for ABC News where he contributed and reported for all ABC News broadcasts including: Good Morning America, World News with Dianne Sawyer and Nightline.

Carnival Announces Entertainment Options for New Carnival Horizon
For its newest ship, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruise Line's talented in-house entertainment team has partnered with leading creative directors from Broadway, Los Angeles and London's West End to create three brand new shows that are designed to raise the bar on cruise ship entertainment.

Part of the line's popular Playlist Productions revues, the new shows make maximum use of the ship's sophisticated and interactive LED screens while showcasing the talents of the shows' performers to deliver unforgettable evenings of high-caliber entertainment.

Three new shows – Soulbound, Celestial Strings and Vintage Pop – will debut on Carnival Horizon when it enters service in April 2018. A fourth show, Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance, has been brought to Carnival Horizon following an incredible debut on Carnival Vista last year.

"Carnival Horizon promises to be a spectacular addition to the fleet and we've made the entertainment and activity options equally spectacular with such an array of fun choices, morning until night," said Sarah Beth Reno, Carnival's vice president of entertainment. "Whether you're enjoying an amazing Playlist Productions show, checking out the hilarious entertainers at the Punchliner Comedy Club or participating in our legendary deck parties, our team will make sure your Carnival Horizon vacation is one you'll never forget," she added.

The Playlist Productions shows on Carnival Horizon include:

• Soulbound: Hosted by Carnival Horizon's very own "soul catcher," this fun, high-energy show offers a gothic-inspired journey through New Orleans with stops at recognizable Crescent City landmarks like a haunted paddlewheel ship, an apothecary shop and cemetery highlighted by levitating chairs and other spookily stunning illusions. As spirits are playfully captured and brought back to life through dazzling special effects, cast members belt out R&B favorites like Superstitious, Soul Man and Born Under a Bad Sign.

• Celestial Strings: Billed as a "breathtaking performance beyond your wildest dreams," Celestial Strings merges the beauty of classical music with modern pop beats that takes place in an elegant and enchanted garden that seamlessly transforms from season to season, stimulating the senses with unbelievable visual imagery, 3D cast interactions and aroma-infused sets to bring the garden to life. The first Playlist Productions show to feature a live string trio, Celestial Strings is truly a multi-sensory symphony for the soul.

• Vintage Pop: Taking viewers back to the Great Gatsby and Cotton Club era with contemporary songs like All About that Bass, That's What I Like and Work transformed into classic jazz interpretations, Vintage Pop features a toe-tapping six-piece live band performing in a modern-day speakeasy. Highlighted by a show-stopping burlesque number that leaves audiences breathless, Vintage Pop ends with a rollicking after party in the atrium where guests can dance and interact with the flapper- and zoot suit-outfitted cast members.

• Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance: This exciting get-on-your-feet show blends classic Latin songs with today's hits and features an authentic reproduction of Carnival Horizon's sizzling Havana Bar. The show is highlighted by a seven-piece Cuban-inspired band that performs songs by Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz and others amid a tropical, multi-hued backdrop of Cuba and Miami, the latter of which will be the ship's eventual year-round homeport. The new shows complement Carnival Horizon's vast array of entertainment offerings which include family-friendly and adults-only performances at the Punchliner Comedy Club and the family-favorite Hasbro, The Game Show, a live action game show incorporating larger-than-life adaptations of popular Hasbro games, along with an IMAX Theatre showcasing first-run blockbusters, documentaries and family favorites, and the multi-sensory Thrill Theater, the latter of which are part of the Carnival Multiplex entertainment concept.

At night, Serenity, the ship's outdoor adults-only retreat, is transformed into a South Beach-style club under the stars complete with spectacular lighting effects and a crowd-pleasing mix of popular music spun by one of Carnival's professional DJ's. Live bands along the promenade, solo artists in the new Smokehouse Brewhouse BBQ restaurant and brewery and the line's legendary deck parties will also be offered.

Carnival Horizon is set to debut April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port – then reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following its summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 69.50 + 1.06%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 131.68 + 1.86%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.60 - 3.03%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 59.11 + 2.89%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the first new build for Carnival Cruise Lines and what year did she enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When Cunard's Queen Mary departed New York for Europe in July of 1943 she carried a record number of passengers and crew - the most of any passenger vessel in war or peace. How many people did she carry on that historic voyage? (note: the closest answer wins this week's contest)

Answer - The Queen Mary set a record on July 25th 1943 sailing from New York to Gourock with 15.740 passengers and a crew of 943 totalling 16.683
courtesy of liberte50 (at) wtal.de


Cruise News - February 12, 2018

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces New Cuba and The Caribbean Itineraries from Miami
Norwegian Cruise Line opened for sale the line's brand-new cruises to Cuba and the Caribbean aboard Norwegian Sun round trip from Miami, Florida. For a limited season this fall, Norwegian Sun will offer cruisers a chance to discover the rich history of Cuba and explore some of the brand's most popular tropical destinations in just one journey on seven, nine and 13-day cruises.

"We are thrilled to reveal Norwegian Sun's new fall 2018 itineraries, which will be the first time our brand has featured a call in Havana, Cuba on seven-day and longer cruises," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. "These new itineraries offer a remarkable breadth of experiences for guests with a culturally immersive full day and evening in Havana, complemented by several visits to world-class destinations across the Caribbean and beyond."

Norwegian Sun will sail six seven-day cruises from Miami departing on Sundays from September 9 through October 14. From adventurous activities to cultural experiences, Norwegian Sun will cruise to spectacular ports including the upbeat and vibrant Havana, Cuba, Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private island in the Bahamas; Costa Maya, Mexico and Harvest Caye, Belize. The ship's nine-day Cuba and the Caribbean cruises will expand upon her seven-day sailings and also include additional visits to Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico.

Those dreaming of witnessing the modern marvel of the Panama Canal can do so aboard Norwegian Sun's new 13-day Cuba, Caribbean and the Panama Canal cruise departing from Miami on October 30. This bucket-list vacation will offer an ideal mix of culture, leisure activities and adventure experiences as the ship journeys from the Caribbean to Central and South America and back again visiting eight incredible destinations including Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia and Oranjestad, Aruba, among others.

Norwegian Cruise Line has also added a new five-day cruise to Cuba and the Bahamas from Port Canaveral on September 3. The new cruise will round out the ship's season sailing from the Space Coast with an afternoon visit to the southernmost city of Key West, Florida then head to Havana for an overnight stay in the historical city, followed by a beach day at the private-island paradise of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

All of Norwegian Sun's recently released cruises will visit the incredibly popular destinations of Havana, Cuba and Harvest Caye, Belize. While in Cuba, Norwegian Sun sails into the very heart of Havana, providing guests with the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; view incredible art and visit Cuba's warm and friendly residents through people-to-people exchanges – all just steps away from the comfort of the ship. Norwegian offers a selection of 13 half and full-day OFAC-compliant shore excursions, where guests have the chance to have a farm-to-table dining experience or explore modern Havana in an American classic car and discover the arts, culture, dance and cinematic masterpieces of Fabrica de Arte Cubano on an exclusive private tour.

Located one mile off the coast of Southern Belize, Harvest Caye, is a resort-style destination where guests can lounge along the expansive pristine beach or at the 15,000 square-foot pool with a swim-up bar, enjoy a nature center with wildlife and reptiles or opt for an adrenalin rush zip line adventure at the 130 ft. tall Flighthouse, among many other on-island attractions. Those who want to explore mainland Belize have several convenient options from Harvest Caye including the island ferry, rainforest tubing or private boat excursions.

Carnival Significantly Expands Its West Coast Presence
Carnival Cruise Line today announced several significant initiatives designed to further bolster its leadership position on the West Coast: the deployment of Carnival Panorama to Long Beach in 2019 – the first new Carnival ship based in Southern California in 20 years; the grand re-opening of its 146,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Long Beach Cruise Terminal, and a multi-million-dollar port development project in Ensenada, Mexico, that will provide guests with one-of-a-kind experiences ashore.

The announcement was made by Carnival President Christine Duffy in Long Beach, California at a VIP ceremony officially unveiling the enhancements to the newly upgraded cruise terminal with travel agents, port officials, local dignitaries and media in attendance.

"This is a momentous occasion for both Carnival and the City of Long Beach – not only are we celebrating the grand re-opening of this magnificent cruise terminal, but also demonstrating our commitment to the West Coast with the deployment of the spectacular new Carnival Panorama in 2019 and the announcement of an exciting new port development project in Ensenada," said Duffy. "The West Coast is an important market with vast growth potential and these initiatives further demonstrate the confidence in our future success in Long Beach. We are very much looking forward to having Carnival Panorama homeported here beginning next year."

"The expansion of the terminal and arrival of this exciting new ship is great news for the city of Long Beach, underscoring Carnival's longstanding commitment to our community while adding additional opportunities for growing our economy and promoting all that our wonderful city has to offer," said Robert Garcia, mayor of Long Beach. "Carnival has been an excellent partner for 15 years and we look forward to working with them for many years to come."

Carnival Panorama to the West Coast

In 2019, Carnival will make history when it deploys its third Vista-class ship, the 3,960-passenger Carnival Panorama, on seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, providing an exciting new seagoing vacation option to this vital and fast-growing market.

Like its name implies, Carnival Panorama will include venues offering both indoor and al fresco experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Library Bar, and Bonsai Sushi, along with open-air attractions like the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare recreation area.

Also featured will be a vibrant Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations, the Family Harbor Lounge, and Ocean Plaza, a spacious dining and entertainment venue with indoor and outdoor seating. Other innovations unique to Carnival Panorama will be announced in the near future.

Expanded and Redesigned New Long Beach Cruise Terminal

Carnival's Long Beach Cruise Terminal – the busiest in North America with ships docking five days a week representing a 70% utilization rate – has been operated by Carnival since 2003 and encompasses the world's largest, free-span geodesic dome originally built to house also Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose plane and served as the location for many famous Hollywood movies.

With the expansion, Carnival is now utilizing 100% of the dome, up from a portion, for its operations. The renovation of the Long Beach Cruise Terminal more than doubles the size of the facility's space while dramatically enhancing the overall passenger experience and operational flow. It also includes the expansion of portside shore power to enable larger ships to plug into the local electric grid, reducing exhaust emissions while docked.

The terminal's striking design features California's recognizable landmarks, bringing indoors the state's iconic natural elements, including a backdrop of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range. In a nod to the dome's former tenant, a replica of the Spruce Goose hangs from above, as well as the original model of the plane used in the 2004 movie, "The Aviator." The dome also includes the cruise industry's first 1980s-style arcade which is available for families to enjoy.

"This project is many years in the making and Carnival's Long Beach Cruise Terminal is one of the most visually striking and efficient facilities of its kind, providing a seamless embarkation for our guests while making a tremendous economic impact on the Southern California region," said Carlos Torres de Navarra, Carnival's vice president, strategic and commercial port development.

Arrival of Carnival Splendor to Long Beach

The grand re-opening of the terminal coincides with the arrival of Carnival Splendor to Long Beach, which operates seven-day cruises to Mexico and longer-length voyages to Alaska and Hawaii, representing a 40 percent capacity increase on this route.

The 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor is currently the largest ship based year-round in Southern California and offers a variety of onboard amenities, including a 22,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa, a reservations-only steakhouse serving prime dry-aged beef and other gourmet fare, a sliding magrodome covering the main pool area, and nearly 600 balcony staterooms.

Carnival Splendor joins Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration which sail three- and four-day cruises to Ensenada and Catalina Island. Together, these three ships carry approximately 600,000 guests annually from Southern California on more than 250 three- to 14-day cruises, offering an unbeatable mix of destinations that appeal to a broad range of consumers, including families seeking an attractive and affordable vacation option.

Exciting Port Development Project in Ensenada

Carnival officials also announced a major port development project in Ensenada, Mexico, currently featured on the line's three- and four-day cruises from Long Beach. The project will provide guests visiting the destination with an unparalleled, one-of-a-kind dining and retail experiences ashore, along with unique attractions for guests of all ages to enjoy. Details about the development will be announced at a later date.

"This project will provide our guests with a truly unique shoreside experience while making our short cruises from Long Beach even more attractive to consumers," said Torres de Navarra. "This port development project will make Ensenada one of the West Coast's premier destinations."

Seabourn Delivers Expansive 2018 Season
Seabourn is gearing up to allow guests to immerse themselves in the best of Europe in 2018. Following the launch of the line's newest ship, Seabourn Ovation, in May this year, travelers will be able to enjoy an expanded menu of more than 41 individual departures. Across the fleet, four of Seabourn's five ships will visit more than 175 different European destinations on cruises spanning seven to 45 days. From the Aegean and the Greek Isles in the east, to the grand cities and picturesque harbors of the Western Mediterranean, there is something in store for every type of traveler.

"Seabourn has always been welcomed warmly in Europe, and guests will see a variety of opportunities to experience the many natural and cultural wonders across the continent," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "With the launch of Seabourn Ovation, added overnight stays, and select itineraries enhanced with special onboard programming and optional for-charge Ventures by Seabourn expeditions in Northern Europe on select voyages, there will be more of those opportunities this year than ever before."

The 2018 season in Europe will offer more than a dozen new and notable ports of call that Seabourn either hasn't previously visited or hasn't been back to in years, including Hamburg, Wismar and Bremerhaven, Germany; Szczecin, Poland; Turku, Finland; Rijeka, Croatia; Tasiilaq, Skjoldungen Fjord, and Maniitsoq, Greenland; and Seydisfjordur, Djupivogur, Grundarfjordur and Siglufjodur, Iceland.

In recent years, travelers have increasingly begun to discover the natural splendors and Viking history concentrated in Iceland and Greenland. These remote destinations are never more appealing than in summer, when massive populations of migrant birds and other wildlife gather in the long, lingering sunlight. Seabourn has laid out brand-new itineraries for Seabourn Quest this summer, taking full advantage of the region's unspoiled grandeur with a veteran expedition team of naturalists and other experts that includes Dr. Colleen Batey, an archaeologist specializing in the area's rich indigenous and Viking legacies.

Meanwhile, new and not-to-be missed highlights for Seabourn ships in Europe include:

• Seabourn Ovation will spend most of its maiden season in the waters of Northern Europe following the ship's launch in May 2018, exploring the Baltic, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. The ship will offer a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian cruises between Copenhagen and Stockholm, which will include the line's signature three-day stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles, as well as a unique 14-day spring voyage from Amsterdam to Copenhagen, with overnight stays in Hamburg and Stockholm. Guests on the August 4, 2018 itinerary will also have the chance to book a shore excursion, including a limited number of VIP seats, to see the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a truly unforgettable evening experience.

• Seabourn Quest will debut a series of 15-day voyages between Dover, Reykjavik and Copenhagen featuring adventurous optional Ventures by Seabourn expedition-style excursions in select destinations.

• Seabourn Encore will sail a high-summer series of 7 to 11 day sailings, including 7-day itineraries between Rome and Barcelona visiting marquee ports and hidden harbors along the French and Italian Rivieras.

• Seabourn Odyssey will explore the Adriatic and Aegean Seas from Venice to Athens during summer, with visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites at nearly every port of call.

Noteworthy voyages include:

• Viking Ventures: Three voyages on Seabourn Quest, all with engaging itineraries including robust optional for-charge Ventures by Seabourn expedition style excursion programming: 15-Day British Isles & Iceland (May 17-June 1) – Depart Dover to take in ports throughout the United Kingdom including Bristol (Bath) England; Milford Haven, Wales; Douglas on Isle of Man; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Greenock (Glasgow), Oban, Fort William, and Portree (Isle of Skye), Scotland. The cruise will then head into the North Atlantic to explore Seydisfjordur, Djupivogur, Heimaey and Grundarfjordur, Iceland.

• 15-Day Iceland & North Cape Quest (June 1-16) – Board in Reykjavik and head out to four Icelandic ports including Vigur, Isafjordur, Akureyri and Siglufjorour. Following two days at sea, the ship will arrive in Norway with stops at Tromso, Storstappen Island, Honningsvag, Hammerfest, Harstad, Bronnoysund, Stavanger and Arendal, including a day of scenic cruising along the North Cape. Wind up in Denmark with visits to Arhus and Copenhagen.

• 15-Day Norway & Northern Isles (June 16-July 1) – Departing from Copenhagen, the ship will visit Aalborg, Denmark, and then head to Norway with stops at Kristiansand, Rosendal, Ulvik, Eidfjord, Bergen and Skjolden. A day at sea will wind up at Runavik, Faroe, followed by the Isle of Noss and Lerwick in the Shetland Islands; Copinsay Island, Kirkwall and Ullapool in Scotland; and Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Yarmouth and Dover in England.

Extended Arctic Crossing: Seabourn Quest will offer an ambitious adventure through the north. The ship's 45-Day Atlantic Isles Quest (July 16-August 30) will depart Dover (London), England, bound for Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with many destinations in between, including Skomer Island, Wales; Douglas, Isle of Man; Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland; scenic cruising of Boreay & Stac Lee; Copinsay Island, Kirkwall, and Isle of Noss in Scotland; Lerwick in the Shetland Islands and Torshavn in the Faroe Islands. There will be six ports of call in Iceland; eight ports in Greenland including Tasiilaq, Skjoldungen Fjord, Nuuk (Godthab) and Sisimiut (Holsteinsborg); and two full weeks of cruising along the Atlantic edge of Canada with highlights including Monumental Island in Nunavut, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Red Bay in Labrador; the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Quebec City. Segments of this voyage are also available: a 21-Day sailing from Dover to Reykjavik, and a 24-Day sailing from Reykjavik to Montreal.

Coastal Voyages from the Mediterranean to Northern Europe:

• 15-Day Gems of Iberia & France (May 2-17) – Start deep in the Mediterranean at Barcelona, Spain and circle the Iberian Peninsula bound for England aboard Seabourn Quest. Ports will include Valencia, Ibiza, Malaga, Cadiz (Seville) and Vigo, Spain; Portimao, Lisbon, and Leixoes (Porto), Portugal; two days at the dazzling "City of Light," Rouen (Paris), plus a day of scenic cruising on the Seine River before visiting Cherbourg (Normandy) and a final stop in Dover (London).

• 14-Day Vintage Europe (May 26-June 9) – This two-week voyage aboard Seabourn Ovation will head north from Lisbon with stops at Gijon and Bilbao, Spain; Hendaye (Biarritz), Bordeaux, La Rochelle and a day cruising the Gironde Estuary in France; St. Marys in the Isles of Scilly and Dartmouth in England; Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium; and Vlissingen (Flushing), before arriving in Ijmuiden (Amsterdam), Netherlands.

HAL's Nieuw Statendam to Explore Norway, the Baltic, Iceland and the Mediterranean in 2019
Following an inaugural season island-hopping throughout the Caribbean, Holland America Line's Nieuw Statendam will cross the Atlantic Ocean in late April 2019 and spend the summer and fall exploring northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

The new Pinnacle Class ship will homeport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for the summer. Offering an enchanting collection of seven- and 14-day itineraries to the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltic, Iceland and North Cape, Nieuw Statendam will visit some of the most scenic and culturally rich ports in the region.

In September the ship will head to the warm waters of the Mediterranean on a 12-day cruise from Amsterdam to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. Three 10-day cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia will explore the eastern and western Mediterranean. The ship then departs Civitavecchia Oct. 27 for a 14-day cruise back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"Holland America Line is known for offering incredible itineraries that deeply immerse our guests in the places we visit, and for Nieuw Statendam's inaugural season in Europe we crafted cruises that will deliver an unforgettable experience," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "By offering nearly six months of cruising in the region, we're able to take the ship from Iceland to Greece and everywhere in between. We encourage everyone to book early because interest has been remarkably high for our newest ship."

Nieuw Statendam Showcases Norway in Summer 2019
Once arriving in Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam will cruise seven- and 14-day itineraries. Two different seven-day itineraries offering nine departures from May through September call at some of the country's most popular ports and feature multiple scenic cruising experiences.

A longer 14-day Norwegian exploration departs June 9 and July 7, featuring eight ports in Norway while crossing into the Arctic Circle. Guests also will enjoy scenic cruising in Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord, the North Cape and Sognefjord.

British Isles and Baltic Round Out Nieuw Statendam Europe Highlights
The Baltic awaits Nieuw Statendam guests on two 14-day itineraries in May and August, also sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam. The ship calls at the most sought-after ports in the region, with visits to Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Warnemünde (Berlin) and Kiel (Hamburg), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg (overnight), Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden.

Travelers looking to visit the British Isles and Iceland can embark Nieuw Statendam Aug. 4 for a 14-day cruise to Newcastle upon Tyne, England; South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland, for an overnight permitting guests to attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo if they would like; Reykjavik (overnight), Isafjordur and Akureyri, Iceland; and Ålesund and Bergen, Norway.

Mediterranean Cruises in the Fall Span the Region
In September, Nieuw Statendam sails from Amsterdam to Civitavecchia on a 12-day journey that visits Ireland, Portugal and four ports in Spain. The ship then offers two 10-day cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia to Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and Italy, while another 10-day itinerary visits ports in Spain, Gibraltar, France, Monaco and Italy.

On Oct. 27 the ship repositions to Fort Lauderdale on a 14-day voyage that crosses the Atlantic Ocean following calls at Cartagena, Málaga (Granada) and Cádiz, Spain; and Ponta Delgada, Azores.

The Premiere Voyage and Inaugural Caribbean Season  Nieuw Statendam's Premiere voyage will depart Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, Dec. 5, 2018, for a 14-day transatlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale. The ship will spend the winter, holiday and spring seasons cruising roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on three or four-day Bahamas sailings, seven-day eastern or western Caribbean cruises and one 10-day southern Caribbean itinerary.

Travelers looking to spend more time on board and experience the new ship can choose from 11- to 17-day Collectors' Voyages that combine back-to-back Caribbean itineraries. All of Nieuw Statendam's Caribbean cruises feature a call at Holland America Line's award-winning private Bahamian island, Half Moon Cay, known for its pristine beaches, exciting shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and child-friendly activities.

Princess Cruises Announces Locally Inspired West Coast Culinary Cruise
Princess Cruises announced today its fourth Culinary Cruise featuring noted food journalist Bill Esparza. The culinary cruise sails the west coast departing out of Los Angeles on Ruby Princess March 22 – 26, 2018. Esparza brings along notable chefs Sabina Bandera and Carlos Salgado to collaborate with the award-winning Princess Cruises culinary team for a week of unique gastronomy experiences including chef-led cooking demonstrations, tequila tastings and cocktail making tutorials, custom shore excursions and Q+A sessions.

"I am honored to work with Princess Cruises to bring Mexican flavors and culture to life through authentic culinary programming," said Bill Esparza. "Princess has a thoughtful approach to immersing guests in its destinations and connecting them to the culture and local food."

Bill Esparza is recent winner of a James Beard award for his coverage of the L.A. taco scene in Los Angeles Magazine and is considered one of the country's leading experts on Mexican food. A noted saxophone player, Esparza has traveled and eaten extensively throughout Mexico, Latin America, and, of course, Southern California.

Guests onboard will have the opportunity to experience special menus throughout the ship's restaurant and bars and learn valuable cuisine skills to bring home with them from our guest chefs who have a varied but traditional background:

Sabina Bandera is the Queen of the Cart, La Guerrerense, whose tostadas de mariscos have been proclaimed among the best in the world by the "Sultan of Street Food" himself, Anthony Bourdain. Plain, simple, humble and delicious have been La Guerrerense's trademarks since she arrived at her food cart in Ensenada when she was 21 years old.

Named Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2015, Chef Carlos Salgado opened Taco María in 2013. He decided to honor his family's culture and legacy by making Mexican-inspired food with a reverence for its origin and roots. Using the best ingredients available and applying the techniques and values he learned in Michelin-starred restaurants, Salgado works to create a syncretic Alta California cuisine that represents Mexican food by putting real corn at the foundation.

"Bill Esparza has been lauded as the 'go to' expert of Latin American food and culture in the United States," said Gordon Ho, Princess Cruises senior vice president, global marketing. "As we sail down the coast to Mexico, our guests will enjoy hearing about his food experiences and stories of learning about Mexican food in his grandmother's kitchen. It's these types of authentic connections that unite and enrich us when we travel."

Guests will experience the best of the west coast with Princess Cruises on this four-day, four-port California-Mexico cruise.

More Popular than Ever, Cruising's Biggest Fans Now Include Millennials
Cruising no longer is just the fastest growing part of the vacation industry. It is now one of the hottest vacations for millennials, who represent a primary and often elusive target for marketers across industries.

In the 2018 Cruise Travel Report prepared for Cruise Lines International Association, based on a survey by JD Power, cruising was the top vacation choice in every age range – and millennials are the group most likely to say they either "definitely will" or "probably will" book a cruise for their next vacation. Overall, an impressive 94 percent of millennials say they are likely to book a cruise for their next vacation.

Considering that millennials are the first generation to have gone on cruises with their parents, perhaps it should be no surprise that now, as young adults, sometimes on limited budgets, they are one of the reasons why cruising is rising in popularity among people of all ages.

In addition to contemporary brands such as Carnival Cruise Line and Costa Cruises, the younger set also is showing an interest in premium products such as Princess Cruises and Holland America Line. A growing number of millennials are even splurging on ultra-luxury cruises such as on the small ships of Seabourn, as they are discovering plenty of choices in terms of cruise products and travel experiences.

Why are people in their 20s and 30s keen on cruises as a vacation choice? Here's what some millennial cruisers say.

For Meghan Jaworski, 32, the big attraction of cruise vacations includes value and affordability. "I am pretty cheap sometimes, so everything for one price, that all-inclusive feeling, and the fact that before you go on a vacation you know how much you've paid for your accommodations, food, activities and nightlife is a big selling point for me," says Jaworski, an auditor from Bridgewater, N.J. "I love the casino. I also love the food, which is huge for me. And I love the shows because I am a big Broadway fan. I also like the entertainment throughout. You can go sit at different bars, go hear the piano player, go to another lounge and there's a comedian. It's just constant live entertainment."

Jaworski, who started cruising when she was a kid with her family, still likes to cruise with family and friends. These days that includes her husband, though she admits he and she have different styles of cruising. She likes rest and relaxation, while he likes exploring. "I like to lay by the pool all day," she laughs. Like many other millennials, Jaworski also likes the fact that cruises provide an opportunity to visit a variety of destinations, some with late stays or overnights in port so guests can experience local nightlife.

Experiences drive Kara Yaquinta, 21, a content strategist at a Miami marketing firm, to choose cruises as her vacation favorite. She says discovering new things is exactly what she and her friends are seeking. You go on a weeklong cruise and they have good wine, all these drinks and craft cocktails, the spa, food, shows, you get to dress up," she says. "You then get to go to the ports of call where you can do really fun things like jet ski or zipline. That's the appealing part of it. It's all those things in one place." On a recent cruise, Yaquinta visited Roatan, Honduras, where she enjoyed a particularly memorable shore excursion.

"Ziplining there was one of the most fun things I've ever gotten to do," she recalls. "It was so different. Honduras is a mountainous, tropical place and in one part on the zipline the trees opened up and it was a breathtaking scape, the tops of the trees, and you could feel the crisp wind and see clouds over the crystal clear, blue water. It was perfect. For 10 seconds the world just stopped." Yaquinta quickly shared the experience with friends. "I was all over it," she laughs, noting how shipboard Wi-Fi is now both faster and affordable.

"Every time I go on a cruise I purchase a social internet package, and as soon as I was back on the ship I put the ziplining experience all on social media, Snapchat. It's really weird how it is. You want to put it online because it's like "Look what I'm doing, what are you doing?" She says she tends to run into more people her age on shorter, three-, four- and five-day cruises, especially during spring break season in late February, March and April, though she also enjoys longer sailings.

Her preferred place to hang out shipboard is at the comedy club, such as the popular Punchliner on Carnival Cruise Line. "It's my favorite thing to do," Yaquinta says. "I always laugh every time. That's where everybody flocks these days, to the comedy club not just the nightclub. It's like a new trend." She's also a big fan of cruise ship spas, always booking a package that combines a massage and facial, and sometimes sampling other treatments. "I recently did a three-day cruise with my mom and we tried out the pedicures on the ship," she says. "Let me just tell you, it was the best pedicure I have ever had in my life. They took so much time and the spa had floor-to-ceiling windows, so you looked out on the ocean while you were getting a pedicure. It was just so relaxing."

Says Yaquinta, "My Instagram consists of my vacations."

In Europe, Lorna-Marie Abend, 23, of Hamm, Germany, enjoyed cruising so much she went to work as a travel consultant onboard the AIDAprima, one of the latest ships of German line AIDA Cruises, one of the 10 brands of Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company. Abend says the selling points for millennials include the fact that cruises are affordable, casual and active, during the day and well into the night. "In addition to theme parties and nightlife are trendy brands such as Moet Chandon champagne," she says. "Cocktail and sushi-making workshops provide a learning experience. And shore excursions are exactly what adventure-seeking millennials are looking for. For example, you can go biking, canyoning or on a tour in an open-air ATV."

Travel agent, Matthew Wahlgren, 36, of Ticket to Travel in San Jose, Calif., says he steers millennial clients to cruises for both the food and nightlife. "A lot of these cruises nowadays have great food options, including the opportunity to upgrade to specialty dining and sample the cuisine of a celebrity chef, that's a main selling point," Wahlgren says. "I also tell my clients that the cool part about ocean cruising is you get to visit some really cool destinations, but the ship itself is also a fun experience. In some land destinations there is nothing to do at night. On a ship there is always something to do at night."

For Scott Bagwill, 26, a special education teacher and football coach in Woodstock, Ga., the best thing about cruising is the social aspect. He has done 10 Carnival Cruise Line cruises, sailing with family and friends, and recently did his first solo cruise, a weeklong New Year's cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy out of Charleston. "I was nervous at first," he says, "but I joined a Facebook group and met a bunch of awesome people and when we did a meet-and-greet people invited me to have dinner with them, go play in the casino, go see the shows. Even though I was technically cruising by myself, I wasn't cruising by myself."

This month, Bagwill will cruise with a friend he met on a ship in June. "Now his family and me and my family are best friends," he says. "I called and said I am going on a cruise for eight days, do you want to come along, and he said, 'How much do I owe you?'" Bagwill says he was in nursery school when he did his first cruise, and what he remembers most about that sailing is the free 24-hour ice cream and pizza.

Times have changed, somewhat.

"I'm a big guy and I try to watch what I eat, but on my cruise over New Year's this year every night at 1 a.m. or 1:30 we were always getting pizza before we went to bed," he says. "It became a ritual. Late night after having lots of fun at the comedy club, the dance club, the pizza had to be had." Another thing that draws him back to cruising as his vacation choice is the crew. "They are awesome," Bagwill says. "They work hard and at the end of the day everyone has a smile on their face." He also enjoys arriving in a port city a day ahead of time to discover the place – which is what he did on his sailing from Charleston.

And then there is the fact there's a cruise for every taste and pocket book.

"Last year was my year of 'yes,' and I did two cruises," he says. "I tell people that even though you are 26 years old or a millennial, if you work hard and save your money right you can go off and travel. Cruising is my type of vacation and it will always be my type of vacation. It's inclusive. You don't have to worry about cooking, you don't have to worry about cleaning, you don't have to worry about laundry, I mean, come on. It's the best vacation ever."

Here are seven reasons millennials choose to cruise:

• Accommodations, meals, activities and entertainment included in the cruise fare.

• Shorter cruises appeal to young travelers seeking affordability, while longer cruises provide an easy way to see the world – including exotic places as Cuba, Europe and the South Pacific.

• Convenient homeports mean many people can get to the ship, and to places such as the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, or Alaska without having to deal with the cost and hassle of flying.

• Cruise ship cuisine appeals to those seeking new tastes, including everything from sushi to gourmet burgers to elaborate multi-course menus in dining rooms and specialty restaurants.

• Fast internet access makes it easy to post real-time photos and videos showing that you are doing exciting things and visiting exiting places, and also stream TV shows, movies and music.

• Wellness and self-discovery are part of the cruise ship equation, including at state-of-the-art spas and fitness centers with ocean views.

• Cruises are a unique way to sample and discover new destinations in an easy, convenient way while only unpacking once, including the city where your ship embarks.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.77 + 1.07%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 129.27 + 3.11%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.65 - 6.25%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 57.45 + 0.88%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When Cunard's Queen Mary departed New York for Europe in July of 1943 she carried a record number of passengers and crew - the most of any passenger vessel in war or peace. How many people did she carry on that historic voyage? (note: the closest answer wins this week's contest)

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which ocean liner and cruise ship has the distinction of having sailed with one, two and three funnels over her long career?

Answer - The Furness-Bermuda lines was the only passanger/cruise ship to sail with one, two and three funnels during her long career. She was built in the early thirties as a three funneled liner. During WWII she served as a troopship with only two funnels. After the war she returned to service as a three funnel ship. In the early sixties she was refitted and came out as a single funnel liner. This made her look similar to her more modern sistership the Ocean Monarch.
courtesy of Larry P. MacDonald


Cruise News - February 5, 2018

Cockatoo Takes a Cruise
Having flown the coop for a cruise adventure of her own, Harri the stowaway galah, a rose-breasted female cockatoo native to Australia, has been returned to her family by Princess Cruises for a joy-filled reunion at the Portside Cruise Terminal in Brisbane.

The adventure all started as Michelle and Brett Cozzi along with four-year-old daughter Georgia were packing for a cruise vacation. The Cozzi's beloved bird, Harri, was accidentally set free from her cage and flew away from the suburban town of Nundah, Queensland, Australia and presumed never to be seen again. The family was devastated, but little did they know, Harri was about to take a cruise vacation of her own.

Sea Princess, one of Princess Cruises 17 ships, was sailing the Tasman Sea when crew members came across the beautiful bird. Officers had Harri scanned for a microchip, and discovered the bird was the family pet. The officers made her an honorary crew member with her own laminated crew identification card. Harri enjoyed the remainder of her cruise vacation on Sea Princess complete with her own stateroom, daily meals and world-class service.

Meanwhile, as the Cozzi family was enjoying their cruise on sister line P&O's Pacific Aria off Queensland, word was received from Australian Agriculture Department officials that Harri had been found, and to the entire family's shock, was on her own cruise adventure to New Zealand.

Once back on land and awaiting her return, the Cozzi family learned of Harri's fantastic journey. During her 14-day New Zealand cruise odyssey, Sea Princess Environmental Officer Tibor Filipovic was Harri's friendly onboard guardian under the watchful eye of the ship's Master, Princess Cruises Commodore Giuseppe Romano, as they followed the strict biosecurity guidelines that enabled fully fledged Australian bird citizen Harri to return home.

Commodore Romano and Environmental Officer Filipovic said they were pleased to be able to care for Harri during her stay on Sea Princess, and looked forward to returning her to her Brisbane family, despite the crew who has grown fond of their Aussie shipmate.

"The entire ship's company has come to love Harri and she has been a very good shipmate and no trouble at all," Commodore Romano said. "But we could also see that Harri was missing her human family, so it was a great pleasure to be able to reunite them."

As the journey came to an end, the Cozzi family delivered Harri's birdcage to the terminal where Sea Princess docked, and then waited patiently while Harri received a pre-disembarkation veterinary check, which, as expected, she passed with flying colors.

"We are very excited to have Harri home because she is a much loved member and indispensable part of our family," Michelle Cozzi said. "We'd hoped for her safe return but after Harri had been gone for a few days, it wasn't looking good. It was amazing to discover she had been found on another cruise ship. It was just the best news possible."

Harri's return is the result of a joint effort by Princess Cruises, the Sea Princess crew, and government authorities on both sides of the Tasman Sea. The groups worked together to ensure biosecurity requirements were strictly followed so that Harri could come home.

"We are pleased to contribute to such a positive outcome in a story that has captured the imagination of so many people here and around the world," said Stuart Allison, Princess Cruises senior vice president. "The Sea Princess team set the scene for today's family reunion with the professional way in which they responded to Harri's discovery on their ship."

"It has also been a great pleasure to work cooperatively with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and the Australian Department of Agriculture to happily resolve Harri's stowaway adventure."

This story goes to show that not only people 'flock' to Princess Cruises.

Carnival Splendor To Reposition To Sydney In 2019
Carnival Cruise Line has announced that the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor will reposition to Sydney in 2019, becoming the newest and largest ship based year-round in Australia.

More than 800,000 Australians have cruised with Carnival since the company launched its Australia program five years ago with year-round sailings of Carnival Spirit. Carnival Legend also operates seasonal departures from Sydney. The arrival of Carnival Splendor to Sydney represents a 66% capacity increase for Carnival Cruise Line in Australia.

Carnival Splendor will undergo a significant bow-to-stern upgrade that will add features catering to Australian guests, including a variety of new dining experiences tailored to local tastes and a brand-new waterpark.

The 113,300-ton vessel will make her maiden voyage from Sydney in December 2019 following a repositioning cruise from Singapore.

Carnival Splendor currently operates seven-day Mexican Riviera and longer length voyages to Alaska and Hawaii from Long Beach, Calif. Another Carnival Cruise Line ship will be replacing Carnival Splendor on its Long Beach cruise program and will be announced in the near future.

Royal Caribbean Invites Travelers To Amp Up Their Weekends
Royal Caribbean International is inviting adventure seekers to break out of their ordinary routine and take their weekends to new heights with the debut of the reimagined Mariner of the Seas. After an extensive $90 million makeover, Mariner will offer the chance to do, see and experience more than any quick getaway has ever done before. Beginning in June 2018, adventurers can enjoy 3- and 4-night Bahamas escapes from PortMiami to Nassau and CocoCay – Royal Caribbean's private island destination – where they will experience a variety of new thrills, heart-pumping nightlife and exotic culinary creations that will leave them with a list of brag worthy weekend memories.

"At Royal Caribbean, we believe in the constant pursuit of adventure and that every weekend is an opportunity to experience something new and live life to its fullest," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "With the new Mariner of the Seas, we invite travelers to weekend like they really mean it and make the most of a quick getaway than they even thought was possible."

Out-of-this-World Thrills
Thrill seekers won't want to miss Sky Pad, a brand new virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience on Mariner of the Seas. Guests will strap in and don their virtual reality headset to transport them to another time and planet to bounce over moon craters or compete in intergalactic games. The out-of-this-world experience is for guests of all ages, and also can be enjoyed without virtual reality headsets, for those who prefer to look out over the ocean as they leap toward the sky.

Mariner will see the addition of several recent Royal Caribbean innovations following the extensive modernization, including The Perfect Storm, a duo of racing waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon, and a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience in Studio B, where friends and family can team up to play "Battle for Planet Z." Mariner will offer Puzzle Break: The Observatorium, a new escape room experience where competitors can put their minds to the test, working together to find hidden clues and solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. With only 60 minutes of play, the excitement builds with each tick of the clock. Guests also will have the chance to catch a wave with another added Royal Caribbean-favorite, the new, 40-foot-long FlowRider surf simulator.

Reinvented Nightlife
The adventure doesn't stop when the sun goes down – The Bamboo Room, an all-new Polynesian-themed watering hole found only on Mariner, will be the coolest bar on anyone's must-do list. The retro lounge will heat up the ship's already vibrant nightlife scene with its tiki-chic décor. Guests can choose their favorite specialty handcrafted cocktails to sip and savor, plus, make their friends jealous with Instagram-worthy moments throughout the kitschy-cool, uniquely styled space. For sports fans, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade is the place to be on game nights, where they can enjoy all the biggest live sporting events over ice-cold brews, wings, sliders and more.

Can't Miss Culinary Creations
For those looking for an adventure of the taste buds on their getaway, Mariner will not disappoint, with new culinary offerings added to its lineup. Jamie's Italian offers Chef Jamie Oliver's rustic Italian dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, including delicious pastas made in-house daily. Caffeine junkies will be able to get their fix at Starbucks even at sea, and sushi fans can enjoy Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, offering exotic made-to-order hot and cold dishes á la carte.

The 15-deck Mariner of the Seas will continue to offer an array of signature Royal Caribbean experiences, including a Studio B ice-skating rink, a 40-foot rock-climbing wall, a nine-hole miniature golf course, three pools, a full-sized basketball court and "Dive-In" outdoor movie nights poolside.

Carnival Splendor, Carnival Miracle Transit Panama Canal En Route to New Homeports
The 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor and the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle are shown here transiting the Panama Canal en route to their new homeports of Long Beach, Calif., and Tampa, Fla. Both ships start new year-round programs from these ports tomorrow.

During the cruise, guests had the unforgettable opportunity to transit the Panama Canal – one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World – and sail across Gatun Lake, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, while visiting spectacular ports in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America.

Upon its arrival in Long Beach, Carnival Splendor will operate seven-day cruises to the Mexican Riviera, as well as longer length voyages to Alaska and Hawaii from Long Beach, increasing capacity on these routes by 41 percent.

With the launch of Carnival Miracle’s four- to 14-day cruises from Port Tampa Bay, Carnival is doubling its capacity at the port and further bolstering its position as the Caribbean cruise leader. Carnival Miracle will offer the only year-round longer-length cruise program from Tampa.

Carnival Names Senior VP Of Sales & Trade Marketing
Adolfo Perez, a 36-year veteran of Carnival Cruise Line, has been appointed senior vice president of sales and trade marketing.

Perez has been serving as vice president of sales and trade marketing since 2015. Under his leadership, Carnival has rolled out several successful initiatives and programs to reinvigorate and fortify relationships with travel agents and reestablished partnerships with various associations. In his new role, Perez will continue to be responsible for Carnival’s business development teams and trade marketing functions in the U.S., Canada and international markets, reporting to Ken Tate, who has been promoted to executive vice president & chief commercial officer.

“Adolfo has been critical to driving growth in our travel agent business, both domestically and internationally, and we want to recognize the success of his leadership and the efforts of his team and the results they have delivered,” said Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy. “We greatly value our relationship with our travel agent partners and all of us at Carnival are committed to continuing to work hard to develop innovative and beneficial programs to support them.”

Perez joined Carnival in 1982 as an embarkation agent and has held multiple managerial positions within the company’s sales and reservations departments over the past three and a half decades, including vice president of reservations sales, overseeing the line’s reservations contact centers where he developed many relationships within the travel agent community. Prior to joining Sales & Trade Marketing, he launched the company’s international sales and marketing office in London and upon his return to the U.S. served as the company’s vice president of new markets and product marketing.

“Working with the sales and trade marketing team for the past two and a half years has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I look forward to forging ahead with even more initiatives in the next phase of this role,” said Perez. “From Agentpalooza to our popular ‘Travel Agents Rock’ program, it’s been gratifying to see the relationship with our valued travel partners grow stronger and this is just the beginning.”

A resident of Miami Beach, Fla., Perez earned a master’s degree in business administration from Florida International University in Miami, as well as a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) designation from the Institute of Certified Travel Agents (ICTA).

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.04 - 5.42%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.37 - 6.97%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.76 + 0.57%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.95 - 5.98%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ocean liner and cruise ship has the distinction of having sailed with one, two and three funnels over her long career?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was first cruise ship fitted with a podded propulsion system, and what year did that ship enter service?

Answer - The first cruise ship to be fitted with a podded proplusion system was Carnival Cruise Lines' Elation (number 491), and was delivered in February 1998 from MasaYards in Helsinki, Finland.
courtesy of Steve Perry, Miami, Florida USA


Cruise News - January 29, 2018

New Ship Ordered For P&O Cruises
Carnival Corporation today announced it has signed a shipbuilding contract for a second next-generation cruise ship for its P&O Cruises brand with leading German shipbuilder Meyer Werft GmbH that is scheduled to be delivered in 2022.

Similar to a fellow P&O Cruises sister ship due for delivery in 2020, this second new vessel will be the largest cruise ship to be built specifically for the British market. It will be 180,000 gross tons and will accommodate approximately 5,200 guests (lower berths). Both new ships will be registered in the UK.

The new ship is part of Carnival Corporation's ongoing fleet enhancement strategy with 19 new ships scheduled for delivery between 2018 and 2022 – creating excitement in the vacation market and continuing to exceed guest expectations while accelerating demand for cruising, the fastest growing segment in the vacation industry.

The ship will be built by Meyer Werft at its shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, and feature the corporation's exclusive "green cruising" design as one of the first generation of cruise ships to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) both while in port and at sea, which will significantly reduce air emissions with the shipping industry's most advanced fuel technology.

Carnival UK president Josh Weinstein said: "We are seeing the momentum in awareness of cruising both across the media and in our national psyche as ever-increasing numbers of people see first-hand the value for money, unrivalled service and extraordinary onboard experience. These two next-generation ships for delivery in the next four years are real and tangible evidence of our absolute optimism for future growth."

Added P&O Cruises senior vice president Paul Ludlow: "We have a bold and ambitious vision for P&O Cruises to become Britain's number one holiday choice and we can only do that by increasing our fleet. The build for our 2020 ship begins this spring and it will offer all generations of British guests the holiday of a lifetime on the next generation of P&O Cruises ships.

"In four years' time when her sister ship is launched, adding an additional 22 percent capacity, we will see an even greater rise in the popularity of cruising across all demographics and all age ranges including both Millennials and Generation Xers. Many of them have already learned to appreciate cruising by going on cruises with their families while growing up. Additionally, there are millions more we will attract in the future by retaining the amazing onboard and on-shore experiences and itinerary choices P&O Cruises is known for, while reflecting forward-thinking trends and tastes of British holidaymakers.

"This evolution of the guest experience will be evident over the next few years but will be underpinned throughout with in-depth market insight and feedback we receive from the best source: our current, past and prospective guests.

"The first of our new ships will go on sale in September and we will be announcing key elements of the design and build this year. Our P&O Cruises signature features in dining and entertainment will be across all our ships, but the space and build of the two new ships allows us to have innovative new experiences to create the most memorable holidays."

Thomas Weigend, managing director of Meyer Werft, added: "We are very happy to continue our excellent partnership with Carnival Corporation and P&O Cruises."

Carnival Miracle Kicks Off Year-Round Seven-Day Schedule From Tampa
Carnival Cruise Line's 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle kicked off a year-round program of seven-day cruises from Tampa this weekend, doubling the line's capacity at the port and further bolstering its position as the leader in Caribbean cruising.

Carnival Miracle will offer the only year-round longer-length cruise program from Port Tampa Bay, offering an unbeatable mix of destinations that appeal to a broad range of consumers, including families seeking an attractive and affordable vacation option.

Carnival Miracle joins Carnival Paradise which operates year-round four- to eight-day voyages from Tampa to the Caribbean and Cuba. Together, Carnival Miracle and Carnival Paradise will carry an estimated 280,000 passengers annually from Tampa – the most of any cruise operator.

"Carnival Cruise Line has been sailing from Tampa for nearly 25 years and we're thrilled to add a second year-round ship to provide our guests with an even greater variety of fantastic cruise vacation choices from this convenient homeport," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We would like to recognize our partners at Port Tampa Bay and the Tampa community, as well as our valued travel agent partners, for their efforts in making Tampa one of our most popular and successful embarkation ports," she added.

"We're delighted that Carnival Cruise Line will have two year-round cruise ships dedicated to the Tampa market," said Paul Anderson, President/CEO Port Tampa Bay. "It speaks to the record-breaking demand of passengers in the Tampa Bay area wanting to get on a Carnival cruise."

Seven-Day Sailings from Tampa

On its week-long Tampa-based cruise program, Carnival Miracle departs Port Tampa Bay Saturdays or Sundays calling at four popular western Caribbean ports: Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay (Roatan) and Belize, each known for their world-class beaches, varied shore excursion opportunities, centuries-old historical sites and excellent dining and shopping experiences.

These voyages from Tampa are part of Carnival's exclusive Cozumel Plus program, which feature extended stays that provide guests even more opportunities to experience and explore one of the Caribbean's most diverse vacation destinations with a variety of exciting and unforgettable excursion choices, many taking place on Mexico's mainland.

New Six- to 14-Day Cruises to the Caribbean, Panama Canal

Carnival recently added several six- to 14-day sailings aboard Carnival Miracle visiting spectacular ports throughout the Caribbean as well as an unforgettable opportunity to experience a partial transit of the Panama Canal. During the transit, guests will experience one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and sail on Gatun Lake, one of the largest man-made bodies of water in the world.

The new six-day voyages feature day-long stops at Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya or Mahogany Bay. Departure dates include Sept. 2 and Nov. 11, 2018, and Jan. 27 and March 31, 2019.

Eight-day Panama Canal cruises depart April 14 and Sept. 8, 2018, and Feb. 2 and April 6, 2019, and include a partial transit of the Panama Canal along with stops at Limon (Costa Rica) and Grand Cayman. There's also an eight-day, five-port Caribbean cruise that departs Nov. 17, 2019, and visits Cozumel, Costa Maya, Mahogany Bay, Belize and Grand Cayman.

Carnival Miracle will also offer a 14-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal cruise round-trip from Tampa Dec. 2-16, 2018, featuring Cozumel and Limon prior to a partial Panama Canal transit followed by visits to Cartagena (Colombia), Aruba, Curacao and Montego Bay (Jamaica). Guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique local dining and entertainment experiences and a number of shipboard enrichment activities.

Norwegian Cruise Line Celebrates Construction Milestone For Norwegian Encore
Today Norwegian Cruise Line marked the start of construction for its newest ship. Named Norwegian Encore, Norwegian's latest addition to its young, modern fleet will sail The Caribbean from Miami seasonally beginning fall 2019. Previously, NCL had announced that Norwegian Encore would be designed for, and servering the Chinese market.

"Norwegian Encore will be the ultimate Breakaway Plus Class vessel and we are thrilled to celebrate the start of construction for this incredible new ship," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. "Over 50 years ago the Norwegian brand began creating unforgettable vacation moments with the first inter-island cruise in The Caribbean from Miami. We continue building on our legacy of innovation with this brand-new state-of-the-art vessel perfect for exploring the natural beauty of some of the most remarkable islands in the world."

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and MEYER WERFT executives gathered at the MEYER WERFT Laser Center in Papenburg, Germany and cut the first plate of steel, marking the ceremonial start of construction of Norwegian Encore, which is due for delivery on October 31, 2019. "We are excited to start production for Norwegian Encore and to create another floating destination for Norwegian Cruise Line", said Stephan Schmees, Executive Board Member Project Management Ships, MEYER WERFT.

Norwegian Encore will be the seventeenth ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet and the line's fourth and final ship in the Breakaway Plus Class, the most successful Class in the brand's history. At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating nearly 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will sail weekly seven-day Caribbean cruises each Sunday from PortMiami, offering guests the superior service, world-class entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The new ship will pair innovative design and modern luxurious décor with an array of options that will allow guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their vacation at their own unique pace and style.

Norwegian Encore will feature amenities and interactive experiences that will excite and inspire, and more details on the ship's design, accommodations, dining and onboard offerings will be shared in the coming months. The ship will be available for reservations in March 2018.

Holland America Line Expands Denali Experience in Alaska with New Guest Accommodations
Holland America Line is expanding the guest experience on its award-winning Alaska Land+Sea Journeys with the addition of new guest accommodations at its Denali operation. The 99-room addition will feature the first-ever junior suites at the resort and is expected to be open for the 2019 summer Alaska cruise season. The 55 new junior suites will showcase balconies, larger living areas and greater amenities for guests.

The new rooms are an extension of Holland America Line's overland Alaska experience to Denali, which includes the McKinley Chalet Resort hotel and Denali Square, a gathering area to relax, shop, dine and enjoy music and entertainment. The addition will be located just west of Denali Square with views of Mt. Healy and Denali National Park.

"Following the opening of Denali Square, we're excited to continue the expansion and elevate the overall Denali experience once again by adding junior suites to our Denali property," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Holland America Line has been at the forefront of Alaska exploration for more than 70 years, and our Land+Sea Journeys are the only way to go deep into the heart of Denali and enjoy a cruise in one seamless vacation. This will enable us to bring more guests on overland tours so they can witness the magnificence of Alaska."

The three-story project will feature junior suites and standard rooms with rustic-chic décor. All junior suites have balconies, so guests can enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding Alaska wilderness in private comfort. Each floor will have a central, open-air lobby with cozy furniture. The third floor has open public deck space with tables and loungers so guests can take in the panoramic scenery.

The new building will become a fundamental feature of the McKinley Chalet Resort, Holland America Line's magnificent 68-acre hotel property on the Nenana River. The hotel — featuring a reception hall, dining facilities and guest rooms — serves as base camp for all adventures at Denali National Park such as flightseeing, ATV adventures, hiking trails, river rafting and more. All accommodations feature stylish décor and premium amenities.

Alaska-based companies heading up the project include general contractor Ghemm Company, Inc., based in Fairbanks. Lead architect Heliotrope is based in Seattle, Washington, and also developed Karstens Public House at Denali Square. Heliotrope is working with the Fairbanks office of Alaskan architectural firm Bettisworth North. Costigan Integrated of Seattle is serving as project manager.

Steps from the new rooms, Denali Square is at the heart of Holland America Line's Denali property and is centrally located between the main area of the McKinley Chalet Resort and the riverfront guest rooms.

The largest building in the complex is Karstens Public House, the grand 7,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant showcasing views of the neighboring mountains for dining guests. An inviting deck with fire pits and outdoor seating also allows guests to immerse themselves in this special venue as they drink and dine.

At the center of Denali Square is an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and bench seating for guests to enjoy a variety of local shows and ranger talks. Those wanting to quench their thirst or listen to live music can visit Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the Music of Denali Dinner Theater, that becomes a bar and music venue after the show.

Denali Square also features fire pits, outdoor seating, retail shops offering local goods, and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaska native and local artists display and discuss their works. Walking paths in and around Denali Square show off the property's mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting.

Cunard Partners with The New Yorker to Present "Cartoonists at Sea"
Cunard and venerable magazine The New Yorker have partnered to offer guests an exciting opportunity to explore the world of cartoons while aboard the flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2.

During select 2018 Transatlantic Crossings from June to November, celebrated cartoonists of the acclaimed magazine will host exclusive drawing sessions, workshops, hands-on demonstrations and caption contests for passengers. The New Yorker, known for its single-panel cartoons, has offered a signature mix of news, culture, and the arts since its founding in 1925.

"We are excited to partner with the creative cartoonist team at the New Yorker to entertain our guests on board Cunard's Queen Mary 2," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "Our goal at Cunard is to offer extraordinary experiences to our guests, and we look forward to welcoming The New Yorker team onto these four Queen Mary 2 voyages."

More about the on-board experts who will be joining these voyages:

• Emily Flake will be part of the July 20, 2018 (M827) voyage. Flake has been cartooning for The New Yorker since 2008 and is also the author of Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting.

• Matt Diffee is set to join the June 10 (M821) and November 11, 2018 (M843) Crossings. Author of Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People and the editor of three volumes of The Rejection Collection: Cartoons You Never Saw and Never Will See in The New Yorker, Diffee has been contributing cartoons to The New Yorker since 1999. His work has also appeared in Time, The Huffington Post, The Believer and Texas Monthly. Diffee received the Silver Reuben Award for best single-panel cartoonist of the year and he was recently named Chairman of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society.

• David Sipress will join the transatlantic voyage departing August 26, 2018 (M832). Sipress' work has appeared in the Boston Phoenix, Time, Parade, Playboy, Funny Times, The Washington Post, Harper's, Gastronomica, and Shambhala Sun. Sipress also lectures on the art of the cartoon and has published eight collections of his work. In 2016, Sipress was awarded the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Gag Cartooning.

• Ben Schwartz will be joining the October 7, 2018 Crossing (M838A). Schwartz has been a contributing cartoonist for The New Yorker since 2012. A man of many trades, Schwartz also works as an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, where he uses art to help educate future physicians on how to provide compassionate and patient-centric care.

Here Comes The Pride: Celebrity Cruises Holds Historic Wedding At Sea
In a historic ceremony hosted on board Celebrity Equinox, Francisco Vargas and Benjamin Gray became the first same-sex couple ever to be legally married at sea on a major cruise line.

The grooms were joined by their immediate family for an intimate ceremony officiated by Captain Dimitrios Manetas. They exchanged vows against the signature backdrop of the rose wall in Blu Restaurant, the location befitting the most memorable of moments.

"Words cannot express how proud I am to congratulate Francisco and Benjamin at this truly historic moment, both for them and for Celebrity. It's a true privilege to know that the ceremony performed onboard Celebrity Equinox has made history as the first legal same-sex marriage at sea," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "Together we are paving the way for couples around the world to know that their love and commitment is to be celebrated equally, and that everyone is welcome on board a Celebrity cruise."

As first announced in October 2017, the motion follows a transformative vote in Malta, where a majority of the Celebrity fleet is registered, which passed the country's parliament 66-1. The long-awaited referendum opened the door for Celebrity to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed onboard while at sea, and have the fleet's captains officiate the ceremonies.

Vargas, who works for one of Celebrity's top Travel Partners, said: "Traveling is in my blood – and when we heard Celebrity Cruises was celebrating equality and embracing our community, we wanted to be a part of it. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from our Cruise Planners family and hope our story brings strength for others in the LGBTQ+ community to confidently love whoever they choose."

The Celebrity Wedding Cruise program offers onboard ceremonies and destination weddings for lovebirds. The Nautical Nuptials at Sea package includes a Captain-led ceremony, an event coordinator's services, live music, one hour of photography, cake for two, a bottle of champagne, plus additional romantic turndown amenities post-ceremony, and more.

Viking Cruises Ltd Announces Pricing of Private Offering of $675 Million of Senior Secured Notes
Viking Cruises Ltd today announced that it has priced its private offering of $675 million aggregate principal amount of 5.000% Senior Secured Notes due 2028 (the "Secured Notes") by VOC Escrow Ltd (the "Escrow Issuer") and its private tack-on offering of an additional $275 million of its 5.875% Senior Notes due 2027 (the "Additional Notes" and, together with the Secured Notes, the "Notes"). The Escrow Issuer was formed solely for the purpose of issuing the Secured Notes and, following the initial escrow release, will be merged with and into Viking's direct wholly owned subsidiary Viking Ocean Cruises Ltd ("VOC") and VOC will assume the obligations of the Escrow Issuer under the Secured Notes and the related indenture.

Viking intends to use the net proceeds from the Secured Notes (1) to prepay all outstanding amounts under the loan agreements used to finance two ocean newbuildings, the Viking Star and the Viking Sky, and (2) to repurchase another ocean newbuilding, the Viking Sea, and discharge the related sale-leaseback financial agreement. Viking intends to use the net proceeds of the Additional Notes for general corporate purposes.

The Notes are being offered only to persons reasonably believed to be "qualified institutional buyers" as defined in Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and to certain non-U.S. persons outside the United States under Regulation S under the Securities Act. The Notes have not been, and will not be, registered under the Securities Act and may not be offered or sold without registration unless pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and all applicable state laws.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 71.94 + 4.47%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 134.77 + 4.72%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.75 + 2.94%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 60.57 + 2.02%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was first cruise ship fitted with a podded propulsion system, and what year did that ship enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Prior to S.O.S. a different code was used as the International signal for distress. What was the code, what did it stand for, and what was the first large passenger ship to use it to request help?

Answer - The code is CQD; meaning Come Quick Distress. This was used by the liner RMS Titanic after she struck an iceberg in April of 1912.
courtesy of Patti Stasiak

Some additional facts about SOS and CQD - In Feburary of 1904, the Marconi company suggested the use of CQD for a distress signal. Although generally accepted to mean, "Come Quick Danger," that is not the case. It is a general call, "CQ," followed by "D," meaning distress. A strict interpretation would be "All stations, Distress."

Likewise, contrary to popular belief, SOS is not an abbreviation for anything (...including Save Our Ship or Save Our Souls). According to the 1918 Marconi Yearbook of Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony "...it was adopted on account of its easy radiation and it unmistakable character." The first recorded use of the new SOS call by an American ship was in 1908 by the wireless operator of the ss Arapahoe after the ship lost a propeller. In 1912, wireless operator Jack Phillips first used the CQD call followed by Titanic's call letters MGY. Later, following second Radio Officer Harold Bride's suggestion, Phillips began interspersing SOS with the CQD call.


Cruise News - January 22, 2018

NCL Reveals Fall/ Winter 2019/20 Itineraries, Featuring New Ships In North American Homeports
Amidst the current winter chill gripping much of the nation, Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed selections from the fleet’s fall/winter 2019/20 deployment, which will feature a plethora of warm weather escapes to tropical paradises in the Caribbean, Bahamas & Florida and South America, as well as fall foliage sailings in Canada & New England. Most of the brand’s largest and newest vessels will each call a new city home in 2019. Norwegian’s unique and varied new itineraries, all of which feature the line’s signature cruising experience that allows guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal vacation, will open for sale tomorrow, January 17 for returning guests and will be available to the general public on Thursday, January 18.

“We are delighted to unveil this curated rich mix of our guests’ favorite itineraries with new deployment to exotic destinations that will bring new ships and new experiences to almost all of our homeports,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “Whether a guest has sailed with us many times in the past or they are a first-time cruiser, there is something new for everyone to experience in 2019 and 2020 aboard a Norwegian cruise.”

Bahamas & Florida
The all-new Norwegian Bliss, launching summer 2018, will lead the youngest fleet sailing to the Bahamas from the Big Apple for the winter 2019/20 season. Custom built for the ultimate cruising experience, Norwegian Bliss will boast an array of delectable dining with 27 different options, exhilarating activities like a two-story electric racetrack, and show stopping performances from Broadway’s best including Jersey Boys. The newest and largest ship sailing from New York, Norwegian Bliss’ winter 2019/20 itineraries will offer guests the most cruise options and widest range of itineraries, with 18 different cruises including seven and eight-day Bahamas & Florida sailings, along with longer 12 and 14-day cruises to the Southern and Western Caribbean during the heart of winter, providing a warm weather respite during the coldest months of the year.

Norwegian Bliss will homeport in the heart of Manhattan beginning on November 24, 2019 and set sail each Sunday to the warm turquoise waters of Bahamas & Florida, bringing guests the best of beaches, theme parks and sunshine on seven and eight-day cruises, with calls in Orlando and the Beaches (Port Canaveral); Norwegian’s private island Great Stirrup Cay, which is currently undergoing enhancements that will include a luxury lagoon area for Haven guests, a new zip line and more; and a call to the popular tropical island of Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Gem, fresh from a bow-to-stern enhancement in late 2015 that brought new décor and new venues like the popular Sugarcane Mojito Bar and O’Sheehans Neighborhood Bar & Grill, will kick off the 2019 holiday season with an eight-day Bahamas & Florida cruise from New York on December 13, 2019. This popular family-friendly itinerary includes an overnight stay and two days in Orlando and the Beaches (Port Canaveral), a day at Norwegian’s private island Great Stirrup Cay, and a call in Nassau, Bahamas.

Those looking for a quick winter getaway to ease into the New Year over a long holiday weekend can sail away on Norwegian Dawn from Tampa for a five-day Bahamas & Florida cruise departing January 16, 2020. This one-of-a-kind itinerary features sun drenched ports and white sand beaches, with calls in Key West, Nassau, Bahamas and Norwegian’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, which recently debuted enhanced facilities, new dining options, premium cabana furnishings and more family-friendly amenities.

Caribbean
On December 1, 2019, Norwegian Bliss will begin a 12-day journey to the Southern Caribbean, calling on the region’s most iconic destinations including San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; and St. John’s, Antigua. Norwegian Bliss will also offer a 14-day Southern Caribbean cruise on January 19, 2020, that will additionally call in Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

Guests looking to cruise to the tropical rainforests and stunning dive sites of the Western Caribbean on an extended 14-day vacation at sea aboard Norwegian Bliss have two departure dates to choose from: January 5 and February 2, 2020. This spectacular itinerary includes it all, from theme parks to Mayan ruins, with calls in Orlando & the Beaches (Port Canaveral); Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

Guests cruising from New Orleans will have the opportunity to experience some sisterly love with Norwegian Breakaway in 2018 and Norwegian Getaway in 2019. For the first time ever, Norwegian Getaway will sail a mix of seven, nine and 12-day cruises to the Western Caribbean from New Orleans beginning November 8, 2019. After fun in the French Quarter, guests can hop aboard the youngest and largest ship sailing from New Orleans for a journey to sun and sand with calls on Costa Maya, Mexico; Harvest Caye, Belize; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica on her nine-day voyages. With her mermaid hull guiding the way, Norwegian Getaway’s seven-day Western Caribbean cruises will visit Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Harvest Caye, Belize. Those looking to explore deeper into the wonders of the Western Caribbean can opt for Norwegian Getaway’s 12-day cruise, which will feature calls on Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Harvest Caye, Belize.

For the first time ever, guests will have the opportunity to experience a cruise from San Juan aboard the popular Norwegian Epic. From December 8 through March 15, Norwegian Epic will be the youngest contemporary ship and largest ship homeporting in San Juan. The incredible ship will sail the Southern Caribbean on seven-day voyages with calls featuring sapphire blue waters and warm winter sun in Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Castries, St. Lucia; and Basseterre, St. Kitts, as well as Bridgetown, Barbados; St. John's, Antigua; Philipsburg, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands on 10 and 11-day cruises. With 22 dining options and 20 bars and lounges, Norwegian Epic will offer guests more options than any other ship cruising from San Juan.

Following a year and half stay in New York, Norwegian Escape will return to the city of her christening, Miami, on November 23, 2019 and sail seven-day Western Caribbean cruises through April 18, 2020. The 4,200 guest Norwegian Escape features 27 dining options, 21 bars and lounges, as well as the largest Aqua Park and Ropes Course at sea. The ship’s seven-day Western Caribbean cruises will visit Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and the incredibly popular Harvest Caye, Belize. Harvest Caye is a new Belizean port-of-call that features the only cruise ship pier in Belize, a two-story Flighthouse with zip lines and suspension bridges, a street-style local artisan market and opportunities for guests to visit mainland Belize on excursions to the Mayan Ruins, rafting and more.

Norwegian Breakaway will extend her stay in the Sunshine State by repositioning from Miami to Port Canaveral, arriving on November 23, 2019. As one of the largest ships to homeport in Port Canaveral, Norwegian Breakaway will spend her winter 2019/20 season sailing seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries every Saturday. The perfect vacation for the young and young at heart, guests can experience the bustling theme parks and excitement of Orlando then head to the coast for a relaxing cruise vacation aboard the beautiful Norwegian Breakaway, which features 27 dining options, more dining options than any other ship departing from Port Canaveral. The ship’s Western Caribbean cruises will offer guests an array of beautiful, tropical destinations including Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. During Norwegian Breakaway’s Eastern Caribbean sailings, guests will cruise to some of the most popular ports of call in the region including St. Thomas, USVI; Tortola, BVI and Norwegian’s very own exclusive, private island, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.

Norwegian Dawn will round-out the line’s deployment in the Sunshine State with her return to Tampa, with cruises departing from the west coast of the peninsula from November 24, 2019 through March 22, 2020. The recently renovated Norwegian Dawn will sail primarily seven-day Western Caribbean cruises where guests will be able to explore a variety of ports-of-call including Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and the beautiful Harvest Caye, Belize.

Norwegian Gem will return to the Big Apple for her winter 2019 season from November 22, 2019 to March 16, 2020. Norwegian Gem will sail a variety of 10 and 11-day Southern Caribbean itineraries and one 14-day cruise from New York with ports-of-call that will include some the Caribbean’s most sun-kissed destinations including Basseterre, St. Kitts; St. John’s, Antigua; St. Thomas, USVI; and Castries, St. Lucia.

Canada & New England
Norwegian Escape’s year and a half stay in the Big Apple would not be complete without her venturing through the fall foliage and the quintessential colonial sites in Canada & New England. Throughout the month of September 2019, Norwegian Escape will offer four roundtrip seven-day cruises from Manhattan to the picturesque Canadian coastline, with calls in Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick; and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Panama Canal
Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Gem, two ships which underwent extensive bow to stern renovations as a part of the Norwegian Edge program, will both offer a selection of bucket-list cruises through the Panama Canal. Norwegian Gem will cruise from New York to San Francisco on a 20-day journey departing on January 4, 2020, and then back from the Bay City on a 21-day cruise to the Big Apple departing on January 24. Along these incredible coast-to-coast voyages, guests will experience: the sun and fun of the Caribbean with stops in Curacao and Aruba; the vibrant culture and cuisine of South America in Colombia; the adventure and eco-wonders of Central America with calls in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala; the warm hospitality of Mexico; and the fun and fare of Southern California.

Norwegian Dawn will sail a one-of-a-kind 15-day cruise from New York to Tampa to the Panama Canal, departing on November 9, 2019. The unique open jaw sailing aboard Norwegian Dawn will feature calls on Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; a daytime transit of the Panama Canal, followed by calls in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Roatán, Bay Island, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya, Mexico. Norwegian Dawn will also sail a 14-day roundtrip Panama Canal cruise from Tampa departing on December 1, 2019, with stops in some of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean and Central America including George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Cartagena, Colombia; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, among others.

South America
Guests looking to explore the stunning beauty, vibrant culture and adventure of South America can do so on the newer and larger Norwegian Star, which replaces Norwegian Sun, beginning December 2019. Norwegian Star will sail South America for the winter season in 2019 and 2020, offering 14-day sailings from Santiago (San Antonio), Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Eastbound itineraries depart from Santiago on December 21, January 18 and February 15, while the Westbound depart from Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 4, February 1 and February 29, 2020. These spectacular journeys offer guests jaw-dropping scenery, from volcanos to alpine lakes, waterfalls and glaciers to wildlife viewing, ancient cave paintings and more, with calls in Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco, and Punta Arenas, Chile; Stanley, Falkland Islands; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Puerto Madryn and Ushuaia, Argentina. During these bucket list cruises, guests will also sail the Patagonic Channels, majestic Chilean Fjords, the famous Strait of Magellan; Beagle Channel, Canal Moraleda and a bucket list sail around Cape Horn.

Royal Caribbean Reports 2017 Results
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today reported 2017 adjusted earnings of $7.53 per share — beating the Double-Double EPS target and the mid-point of previous guidance by $0.75 and $0.16, respectively. In addition, the company announced that 2018 adjusted earnings are expected to be in the range of $8.55 to $8.75 per share.

FULL YEAR 2017

US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income for the year were $1.63 billion or $7.53 per share. This result beat the January 2017 mid-point guidance by $0.53 or $115 million and equates to a 23.8% year-over-year growth in earnings per share. This result was achieved despite an unusually ferocious hurricane season which hurt earnings by approximately $55 million or $0.26 per share.

"Our teams worked hard to achieve the Double-Double goals and now they have done it", said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO. "Each of the brands performed excellently during the past year raising their guest satisfaction and employee engagement scores to new heights. This augurs well as we focus on our previously announced 20/20 Vision."

Net Yields increased 6.4% on a Constant-Currency basis versus 3.9% in 2016. A combination of strong demand for our North American and European products as well as our onboard offerings drove the impressive growth rate.

NCC excluding Fuel per APCD were up 2.0% on a Constant–Currency basis mainly driven by investments in revenue generating activities, relief efforts due to the hurricanes and payroll related incentives.

"We started the year very well positioned to achieve our Double-Double goals, and 2017 ended up being exceptionally good, resulting in the company exceeding these goals," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "Strong demand trends for cruising coupled with disciplined cost management helped deliver another record year for the company."

FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS

US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income for the fourth quarter were $288.0 million or $1.34 per share. Last year, US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income were $261.1 million or $1.21 per share and $264.7 million, or $1.23 per share.

Gross Yields were up 4.1% on a Constant-Currency basis. Net Yields were up 3.9% on a Constant-Currency basis, beating the mid-point of the guidance by 165 basis points. Strong close-in demand for our core products combined with better than expected onboard spend drove the outperformance.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCD increased 5.6% on a Constant-Currency basis. Net Cruise Costs ("NCC") excluding Fuel per APCD were up 8.7% on a Constant-Currency basis.

Thank-you, Thank-you Bonus
As previously stated Royal Caribbean said that it has now successfully completed the Double-Double — earnings per share have more than doubled during the Double-Double period and ROIC has risen above 10%. This success has been possible due to the passion and commitment of our people and Royal Caribbean said that it has decided to give them a surprise bonus for their Double-Double efforts.

Today, Royal Caribbean said that it announced that it will give a bonus to every one of its 66,000 employees equal to 5% of their salary, excluding corporate officers. This Thank-you, Thank-you Bonus will be in the form of equity grants vesting over 3 years, thus giving every employee a stake in the company's future success. The Thank-you, Thank-you Bonus totals approximately $80 million. It will also include major upgrading of crew facilities and recreation areas.

"Our people are what make our business," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO. "We wanted to show our appreciation in a tangible way and we wanted it to reach every employee regardless of level in the organization. It was our way of saying thanks a million; in fact, thanks 80 million."

FULL YEAR 2018

Royal Caribbean said that it's booked position for 2018 is better than last year's record high and at higher rates. North American and European consumers continue to drive strong demand for all of our main products. These trends, coupled with strong onboard spend and a positive outlook for our Asia Pacific products, are positioning the company for a 9th consecutive year of yield growth.

We are also very excited about the 2018 introduction of both Symphony of the Seas and Azamara Pursuit in Europe, in April and August respectively, and the introduction of Celebrity Edge in Fort Lauderdale in November. These new ships will be important contributors to 2018 yield growth.

Royal Caribbean said that it expects a Net Yield increase in the range of 1.5% to 3.5% on a Constant-Currency basis and 2.75% to 4.75% on an As-Reported basis for the full year.

"Our yields are increasing on top of an exceptional 6.4% Net Yield growth experienced in 2017," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "This is quite extraordinary and a testament to the strength in the demand for cruising and our brands."

NCC excluding Fuel are expected to be up 1.5% to 2.0% on a Constant-Currency and 2.0% to 2.5% on an As-Reported basis.

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it estimates 2018 Adjusted EPS will be in the range of $8.55 to $8.75 per share.

FIRST QUARTER 2018

Net Yields are expected to increase 3.0% to 3.5% on a Constant-Currency basis and approximately 5.5% As-Reported.

NCC excluding Fuel per APCD for the quarter are expected to be up approximately 10.0% on a Constant-Currency basis (up approximately 11.0% As-Reported). Operating costs for the full year show continued good discipline, although the cadence of costs between quarters will vary. Costs in the first quarter are expected to be higher driven by more drydock days, fewer APCDs and the lapping of hardware changes.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects first quarter Adjusted EPS to be approximately $0.95 per share.

Princess Cruises and Fathom - Cruise For the Caribbean
In an effort to provide support to local communities affected by the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, and after the sell-out of the inaugural group on the January 20, 2018 Crown Princess sailing, Princess Cruises and Fathom Travel are adding two additional spring sailings in 2018.

The Caribbean is open for business, but these unique sailings allow guests to give with their hands and hearts to those who have been impacted by the recent hurricanes. Due to a record sell-out on the first Fathom group sailing onboard Crown Princess, two additional dates have been added with seven-day Caribbean cruises, roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale:

• Regal Princess, departing March 18, 2018

• Caribbean Princess, departing May 26, 2018

"I've always believed there is an appetite among travelers to combine their passion for adventure with their desire for meaning, purpose and deep connection," said Tara Russell, Fathom president & Carnival Corporation global impact lead. "Now more than ever, our friends in the Caribbean need us to show up to support kids and families as they return to school and build normalcy in their daily lives. These cruises offer guests a transformative opportunity to make an impact in these communities."

These sailings will include experienced small group leaders, impact guides, unique onboard events and activities, as well as opportunities on shore to make a difference in the lives of those living on the islands of the Caribbean.

Highlights of the inaugural 8-day Crown Princess sailing that visits Antiqua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Amber Cove include an in-depth immersion into island life, a connection with local communities, a donation drop, and community care – with optional activities including rebuilding, beach clean-up, reforestation and therapy through arts.

• In St. Thomas, the Princess/Fathom group will be doing a donation drop of more than 2000 items for young families working with and supporting the St. Thomas Department of Health, Maternal and Child Health and St. Thomas Boys & Girls Club with significant help from Baby Zone NYC and Aerostream in Miami.

• While in St. Maarten, the group will be focused on lending a hand in efforts needed by the tourism association including the St. Maarten Nature Foundation and The National Institute of Arts.

• The group's visit to the Dominican Republic will be focused on rebuilding an entire community by repairing a school and various homes that were damaged in past hurricane seasons. Partners include Caritas Internationalis (a relief development and social service organization), the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Environment and Civil Defense. Fathom Travel has been raising donations for Loma de la Bestia at youcaring.org. Macorix House of Rum and Wild Play, both local Dominican companies, have been significant donors for the cause and many individual donors have helped the cause as well. Fathom is still accepting donations for the cause.

Once booked, Princess Cruises/Fathom guests e-mail community@fathom.org to join the group, and from there, they will receive onboard credits and special invitations to Fathom on-board programming, networking, cocktail events and exclusive shore excursions.

Disney Cruise Line Announces The Return of Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea In 2019
In 2019, epic adventures at sea return to Disney Cruise Line with special engagements of two popular itineraries – Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea. Spanning two Disney cruise ships, sailing across the Caribbean and Bahamas, these cruises bring Disney and fan-favorite fun to families and guests of all ages.

Star Wars Day at Sea
From January to early March, 2019, special seven-night Disney Fantasy sailings will transport guests to the Caribbean and a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars Day at Sea is an experience unlike any other where guests can celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga with Jedi, Wookiees, droids, Stormtroopers and others during the special day-long celebration.

The cruise features a full day of Star Wars activities including a deck party spectacular with an extraordinary fireworks display, encounters with the galaxy's most formidable and heroic characters, Star Wars-themed family and youth activities, unique food and beverage offerings and special merchandise.

Star Wars Day at Sea will only be offered on nine Disney Fantasy seven-night Caribbean cruises sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Departing Jan. 5, Jan. 19, Feb. 2, Feb. 16 and March 2, 2019, the western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica, and Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Departing Jan. 12, Jan. 26, Feb. 9 and Feb. 23, 2019, the eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

Marvel Day at Sea
From January to early March, 2019, special five-night Disney Magic sailings will take guests to the Caribbean and Bahamas, along with an action-packed, day-long celebration of the Marvel Universe.

Marvel Day at Sea combines the thrills of renowned Marvel comics, films and animated series, with the excitement of a Disney Cruise to summon everyone's inner Super Hero for adventures that lie ahead during this unforgettable day at sea.

Occurring on one action-packed day during each of the select Disney Magic sailings, Marvel Day at Sea transports guests to a new realm of possibilities when the largest collection of Marvel Super Heroes and Villains assembles on a cruise ship.

The event features all-day entertainment including interactions with some of the mightiest Marvel Super Heroes and the menacing foes who oppose them, an extraordinary deck show spectacular, Marvel-themed youth activities, special merchandise and unique food and beverage offerings.

Marvel Day at Sea will only be offered on 10 Disney Magic Caribbean and Bahamian cruises sailing from Miami, Florida.

Departing Jan. 6 and Jan. 20, 2019, the western Caribbean itinerary includes George Town, Grand Cayman and Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Departing Jan. 11, Jan. 25, Feb. 8, Feb. 22 and March 8, 2019, the Bahamian itinerary includes Key West, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas, and Castaway Cay.

Departing Feb. 3, Feb. 17 and March 3, 2019, the western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico, and Castaway Cay.

Royal Caribbean marks its millionth guest from Singapore
Royal Caribbean International today reached a new milestone by welcoming its millionth guest sailing from Singapore – a momentous way to kick start 2018 which is its 11th year of operation in Asia.

Singaporean Mr Wong Sin Fatt, 52, boarded Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas earlier this afternoon in full surprise as he was welcomed and cheered by Royal Caribbean crew and staff in the millionth guest countdown at the ship’s gangway. The celebration continued at the ship’s Viking Crown Lounge, where both the ship’s Captain Claus Andersen and Mr Sean Treacy, Managing Director, Asia Pacific of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. presented to Mr Wong the millionth guest prize package worth over US$2,400.

Mr Wong can look forward to a free cruise holiday for him and his sibling in his stateroom for his current 4-night Penang & Phuket Cruise sponsored by Royal Caribbean, plus VIP treatment for both. In addition, the cruise line is treating both of them to onboard credit of US$300 which they can spend on for instance specialty dining, shore excursions, shopping and even the special behind-the-scenes tour. Mr Wong also receives a cruise certificate worth US$1,000 for his next cruise holiday.

“This definitely made my holiday knowing that I’m the millionth guest for Royal Caribbean! This is my first time with Royal Caribbean, but never dreamt of winning something like this. My sister wanted a different holiday experience for the whole family, and I’m really excited about my prize that I’m sharing with my family with me here,” said Mr Wong, who is travelling with his family of eight for a vacation.

Mr Treacy said, “We have been looking forward to this day to welcome our millionth guest and thanking him in a big ‘Royal’ way. Crossing this milestone in a span of 10 years here represents a true achievement for us, and this would not have been possible without the strong support of all our guests and key stakeholders including the Singapore Tourism Board and Changi Airport Group which partner us on fly-cruise marketing, as well as the two cruise terminals in Singapore.

“We are happy that more and more people are cruising with us as we bring more and larger ships to Singapore and the region over the last decade, growing from a 2,000-guest ship 10 years ago to three ships double the size today. They include our newest Quantum Class ship Ovation of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas which will be back for more sailings later this year. We hope to continue making Royal Caribbean International a top vacation choice in Asia – and that we can expect our next millionth guest very soon.”

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.86 - 1.19%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 128.70 + 0.92%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.70 - 3.41%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 59.37 + 2.63%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Prior to S.O.S. a different code was used as the International signal for distress. What was the code, what did it stand for, and what was the first large passenger ship to use it to request help?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
For safety and speed reasons, the SS United States, once the fastest ship afloat, was constructed almost entirely of aluminium and steel. In fact, it was said that there were only two items made of wood on board the entire ship. What were those two items?

Answer - The grand piano and the top of the butcher's block in the galley were the only wood items (unless there were pencils on board,)
courtesy of Wayne Miller


Cruise News - January 15, 2018

Carnival Triumph to Offer Diverse Inaugural Schedule in 2019-20
Carnival Triumph will operate a diverse itinerary schedule in 2019-20, with a wide variety of four- to 14-day departures from New York, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Norfolk, Va., visiting nearly two dozen stunning destinations throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Canada, New England, Bermuda and the Panama Canal.

“We’re delighted to offer this unique schedule on Carnival Triumph which will operate an array of cruise durations and varied itineraries departing from three convenient homeports along the East Coast,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “With such an array of cruise choices vacationers have the opportunity to enjoy short, valued-packed getaways to tropical destinations to longer length departures visiting spectacular ports of call,” she added.

Four- to 14-Day Cruises from New York
Carnival Triumph will offer the wide variety of itinerary choices from the Big Apple with four- to 14-day voyages departing in the summer and fall 2019 visiting beautiful destinations in Bermuda, The Caribbean, Canada and New England, as well as the unforgettable opportunity to visit the Panama Canal.

Five four-day “long weekend” Bermuda cruises depart May 23, June 20, July 18, Aug. 15 and Sept. 12, 2019, and offer guests a full day to experience the island while a six-day Bermuda cruise departs Sept. 16, 2019, and spends two full days at the island. An eight-day cruise departing June 24, 2019 offers two full days in Bermuda, as well as a stop in Grand Turk.

Three seven-day cruises will also be offered, departing Sept. 22 and 29 and Oct. 6, 2019 and featuring day-long calls in throughout New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

Carnival Triumph’s schedule from New York also includes two distinctly different exotic eight-day Caribbean itineraries: one featuring Grand Turk, San Juan and Amber Cove (Dominican Republic) with departure dates of July 2, 10 and 30, Aug. 7 and 27, Sept. 4, 2019, the other visiting San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk and departing July 22 and Aug. 19, 2019.

There’s also a 10-day exotic eastern Caribbean itinerary departing June 10, 2019, calling at San Juan, Tortola, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk, as well as a 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise that departs May 27, 2019, and includes the opportunity to visit the Panama Canal during a call in Colon (Panama), as well as visits to Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, Limon (Costa Rica), and Half Moon Cay. Guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique local dining and entertainment experiences and a number of shipboard enrichment activities.

Four- and Five-Day Cruises From Fort Lauderdale
As part of its new schedule, Carnival Triumph will offer a series of four- and five-day cruises from Fort Lauderdale in April 2019 and, following its summer schedule of cruises from New York, will also operate these itineraries from November 2019 through April 2020. Carnival Triumph will be the only Carnival ship to operate a short cruise itinerary from this port. On this route, four-day “long weekend” voyages depart Thursdays and visit Nassau and the private Bahamian destinations of Half Moon Cay or Princess Cays. Five-day sailings departing Saturdays call at Grand Turk, Nassau and Half Moon Cay or Princess Cays, while five-day voyages departing Mondays feature Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman.

Five- and Six-Day Cruises From Norfolk
Carnival Triumph’s schedule will also include five- and six-day Bahamas voyages departing from Norfolk’s Half Moone Cruise Center. Two five-day voyages will depart May 12 and 17, 2019 calling at Nassau and Freeport while six-day cruises depart May 6, and October 14 and 20, 2019, visiting Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport.

Wide Variety of Onboard Amenities
Carnival Triumph offers guest a wide variety of popular and exciting options, including Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Cantina Tequila Bar, and the BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare. The ship also features hundreds of balcony staterooms, as well as a luxurious health and wellness facility, complimentary children’s programs for kids in three age groups, and a 214-foot-long cascading water slide.

Prior to the launch of this program, Carnival Triumph will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar refurbishment that will add a variety of exciting food, beverage and entertainment innovations.

Princess Cruises Invites Guests to Play in the Trees This Summer
Princess Cruises today announced the 2018 programming to be featured at the line’s custom designed wilderness treehouse located at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. The treehouse is a new addition to the guest experience which allows guests an opportunity to view Denali, North America’s highest peak, while enjoying themed activities and socializing with fellow travelers, all amongst the trees. The treehouse was built during an episode of Animal Planet’s hit show “Treehouse Masters,” in association with the line’s partnership with Discovery Communications, which premiered during the season finale in fall 2017.

“At destinations around the globe, we strive to create a bond between our guests and the places we visit, and now more than ever people are visiting Alaska to experience the beauty and adventure the state has to offer,” said Lisa Syme, Princess Cruises vice president. “As the #1 cruise line in Alaska, we are eager to bring these fresh and engaging experiences to our Alaska cruisetour guests, providing opportunities for more travelers to connect with the people, nature, storied traditions and history of the Great Land in 2018.”

The treehouse was the first-ever designed and constructed in Alaska by Pete Nelson, the star of the hit TV series. As one of the highest land-based north-facing viewing areas, the treehouse provides Princess guests a one-of-a-kind experience to see the south face of Denali from atop the trees, and is powered by solar panels. At approximately 500 square feet, guests can access the treehouse by hiking the short “hill trail loop” and be rewarded with the ultimate Denali view.

For nearly 50 years, Princess Cruises has been recognized as a destination leader in Alaska, taking more guests to the Great Land than any other cruise company with its largest deployment ever in 2018. Guests traveling on a Princess Cruises cruisetour will be able to enjoy the treehouse, along with visits to other Princess-owned lodges, and a ride on the exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service, saving time on travel and allowing for more time to experience the Denali-area. In 2018, treehouse activities and programming include:

Tales from The Sourdough Expedition
Hosted by author, world record holder and amputee mountain climber, Todd Huston, guests will follow along a chronicle of the first successful ascent of Denali, the Sourdough Expedition. Participants will meet Huston and fellow adventurers before beginning their very own trek to the line’s new wilderness treehouse. Stories of the first successful ascent will entertain guests as the group explores area trails, ending the journey with a cup of hot cocoa and doughnuts at the treehouse summit. Guests are invited to join the 45 minute expedition five days a week for a nominal charge.

Sappy Hour
Found in the interior of Alaska, boreal forests are carpeted with Birch and Spruce trees, providing ideal conditions for sustainable syrup production. Beginning in 2018, guests can gather with fellow foodies inside the treehouse for a unique and rare sampling of birch syrups and other tree-inspired products. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about Birch trees and the process of harvesting birch syrup. Sappy Hour will run daily at the treehouse for a nominal charge per guest.

Trivia at the Treehouse
Guests are challenged to test their knowledge of The Great Land with an afternoon of brain-busting fun. Hosted by the lodge’s resident naturalist, guests will experience trivia like never before, taking in unprecedented views of North America’s highest peak from the trees. Trivia will take place daily, and participation is complimentary for lodge guests.

Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican Eatery, New Poolside Bars Among New Spaces Being Added To Carnival Victory
Carnival Victory is in the midst of an extensive, multi-million-dollar dry dock that is adding a wide variety of food and beverage innovations, as well as two luxurious Captain's Suites and new deluxe ocean view staterooms.

The new spaces, which are being added during a 17-day dry dock taking place Jan. 4-21, 2018, in Freeport, The Bahamas, include:

• Guy's Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with chef and restaurateur Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture.

• New Accommodations: Several new cabin categories will be added to Carnival Victory, including 260-square-feet Scenic Ocean View staterooms and 320-square-foot Scenic Grand Ocean View accommodations as well as Captain's Suites, spacious 820-square-foot cabins offer a large extended balcony, two full-size bathrooms, separate sleeping quarters and a large living room.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool.

• Bonsai Sushi Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

• Re-Branded Deli: the ship's deli has been completely renovated with an updated design and new menu offerings, including seven sandwiches such as meatball, buffalo chicken, and The Cubano, along with Southwest chicken, falafel and turkey wraps.

• Cherry on Top: The "sweetest spot on board," Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.

These spaces complement Carnival Victory's numerous other onboard amenities, including a 14,500-square-foot spa, a 214-foot-long water slide, a Punchliner Comedy Club offering adults-only and family-friendly performances, and Seuss at Sea, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Carnival Victory operates year-round three- and four-day cruises from PortMiami. Three-day cruises depart on Fridays and call at Nassau, while four-day voyages depart Mondays and visit Key West and Cozumel or Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.

Shaquille O'Neal Appointed As Carnival Cruise Line's New "CFO"…Chief Fun Officer
NBA Hall of Famer and TNT commentator Shaquille O'Neal – also known as "Shaq" – announced on last night's TNT Inside the NBA broadcast that he has been given a new title, joining Carnival Cruise Line as their newly appointed "CFO."

The announcement was made with a tongue-in-cheek video that features Shaq and Carnival President Christine Duffy but omits one minor detail: CFO stands for "Chief Fun Officer," personifying the cruise line's newest brand campaign, "Choose Fun," which launched earlier this week.

As the newly appointed "CFO," O'Neal has partnered with the cruise line, lending his fun, larger-than-life personality and playful spirit to inspire America to Choose Fun with Carnival when planning their next vacation, and in their everyday lives.

Shaq's role will be brought to life via engaging video content, social media and experiential activations, beginning today.

In the first piece of advertising that introduces Shaq as Carnival's Chief Fun Officer, he takes viewers on a whirlwind 30-second tour of Carnival Vista, showing his playful self as he enjoys the ship's many attractions and experiences, including SkyRide, Havana pool, Cloud 9 Spa, a burger at Guy Fieri's Burger Joint and, of course, the basketball court.

"We are very excited to have Shaq as part of the Carnival team! He will serve as a great partner ensuring everyone knows all about our one-of-a-kind brand of fun," said Duffy. "We're confident that his embodiment of our brand values will inspire America to Choose Fun and discover the authentic, participatory and social atmosphere that Carnival offers."

"In today's world, it's more important than ever to choose fun, especially when everyone is busy with work, family, and life in general," says O'Neal. "So, I'm honored to be appointed the Chief Fun Officer at Carnival – a company that lives and breathes fun."

Carnival Cruise Line is the largest brand in the Carnival Corporation portfolio with a fleet of 25 ships designed to deliver fun and memorable vacation experiences at a great value. It is the world's most popular cruise line carrying five million guests a year and catering to a wide consumer demographic, appealing to families, couples, singles and seniors. Carnival carries more children and military personnel than any other cruise line. In spring 2018, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon will debut as the 26th ship in the fleet.

Royal Caribbean Develops Test To Help Travelers Discover Their Adventure Personality
With the winter blues in full swing, whether that is rain, snow or plain-old cold, many travelers are dreaming of their next escape. A new calendar year brings a renewed sense of wanderlust, complemented by a fresh supply of vacation days, begging the question of "Where to next?" Global cruise line Royal Caribbean International is teaming up with the international authority on personality research, CPP–The Myers-Briggs Company, to create a convenient way for travelers to navigate the possibilities for their next adventure from start to finish. Adventure seekers can visit MyAdventurePersonality.com through March to discover more about who they are and what places around the world would most likely energize and excite them. The co-created quiz from Royal Caribbean and the Myers-Briggs team serves as a tool to guide adventurers in planning more fulfilling vacations than ever before, and maximizing their value for spend as well as their precious time off.

"Royal Caribbean encourages everyone to act on their wanderlust. Now we've created a fun, engaging tool to help travelers do just that by digging into their adventure personality," said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer, Royal Caribbean International. "It's exciting that Royal Caribbean is the first in the travel industry to partner with CPP–The Myers-Briggs Company. By combining our nearly 50 years of experience with the research expertise of Myers-Briggs, adventure seekers of all ages not only can better understand their adventure makeup but also their fellow explorers. It's also worth mentioning that there's roughly a zero percent chance of a wicked Nor'easter in the Caribbean Sea."

The easy-to-complete, 13-question quiz draws on The Myers-Briggs Company's knowledge of personality types, and specifically assesses a person's underlying motivations and interpersonal needs that most affect their travel preferences. Once complete, quiz-takers receive a unique description of who they are as a traveler, along with insight into destinations and activities that best suit them – from relaxing on a Caribbean beach to dogsledding across Alaska.

"Vacations are one of the few times in life we're truly allowed to focus on ourselves, so the more we know about our own personality type, the more relaxing and fun we can make them," said Jeff Hayes, CEO, CPP–The Myers-Briggs Company. "Our research team and Royal Caribbean's travel experts put their heads together and created a way to quickly map our personality preferences to travel planning, so that people can plan trips that will leave them recharged and rejuvenated."

The Adventure Personality quiz will be available during prime travel-planning season, known as 'Wave Season' in the cruise industry, when the best offers are available for the year ahead. Adventurers can take advantage of Wave Season, by visiting RoyalCaribbean.com.

Travelers can share their results by tagging @RoyalCaribbean and #ComeSeek on Facebook and Twitter, and invite their friends and family to learn more about their own adventure personality.

Holland America Adds Seattle Chef Ethan Stowell To Its Culinary Council
Holland America Line is amplifying the star power on its award-winning Culinary Council with the addition of Seattle chef Ethan Stowell. The Seattle-based premium cruise line chose the hometown chef to enhance its culinary offerings aboard its fleet of 14 ships, including the line's newest ship Nieuw Statendam, which begins sailing Dec. 5, 2018.

Stowell joins an elite team of world-renowned chefs on Holland America Line's Culinary Council, including Master Chef and Culinary Council Chairman Rudi Sodamin and international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres. No other cruise line has a team of six global culinary experts partnering with them to enhance all aspects of their dining experience.

"Our Culinary Council was designed to bring the global leadership of a team of international culinary experts to our onboard dining experience, and we're thrilled to welcome a creative and successful chef like Ethan to the group," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "In partnership with the Culinary Council we continually evolve and enhance our menus, and we're excited to tap into Ethan's passion and knowledge of regional cuisine to enrich our offerings across all our ships."

As part of his relationship with Holland America Line, Stowell will work collaboratively with the cruise line's culinary team to create a narrative that brings the flavors of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest on board its seven ships cruising in the region. Guests will be able to choose regionally inspired dishes in the dining room.

On all ships, several venues will feature menu items from Stowell, including New York Pizza, and in Lido Market Stowell will be revamping the popular Distant Lands Italian station and adding seven signature tossed salads at the Wild Harvest station.

A Stowell-developed signature appetizer and main course also will be featured on the Culinary Council menu in the dining room one evening on each cruise.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 69.69 + 5.51%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 127.53 + 5.32%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.76 + 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 57.85 + 5.84%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
For safety and speed reasons, the SS United States, once the fastest ship afloat, was constructed almost entirely of aluminium and steel. In fact, it was said that there were only two items made of wood on board the entire ship. What were those two items?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
For safety and speed reasons, the SS United States, once the fastest ship afloat, was constructed almost entirely of aluminium and steel. In fact, it was said that there were only two items made of wood on board the entire ship. What were those two items?

Answer - The grand piano and the top of the butcher's block in the galley were the only wood items (unless there were pencils on board,)
courtesy of Wayne Miller


Cruise News - January 8, 2018

Keel-Laying Ceremony Held for Carnival Panorama Scheduled to Enter Service in November 2019
A traditional keel-laying ceremony was held at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, for Carnival Cruise Line’s third 133,500-ton Vista-class ship, Carnival Panorama, which is scheduled to enter service in November 2019.

The ceremony, which dates back hundreds of years, signifies the official start of construction of a seagoing vessel.

Carnival Panorama will offer many of the popular innovations and features introduced on Carnival Vista which debuted in May 2016. The second in the series, Carnival Horizon, is scheduled to enter service April 2, 2018.

Additional design details, as well as homeport and itinerary information for Carnival Panorama, will be announced at a later date.

Celebrity Edge To Arrive Early, Offer Two "Maiden" Voyages
Celebrity Cruises is excited to announce the highly anticipated inaugural season of Celebrity Edge has expanded, as the transformational new ship will be completed ahead of schedule and enter service earlier than planned.

The schedule change will now allow Celebrity to offer not one, but two distinct seven-night maiden voyages on Celebrity Edge’s alternating eastern and western Caribbean itineraries. Travelers also have the option to book back-to-back sailings for a 14-night journey:

Maiden Voyage West: A seven-night western Caribbean cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale, FL., on December 9, 2018, and visiting Key West, FL.; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico; and George Town, Grand Cayman

Maiden Voyage East: The previously announced seven-night eastern Caribbean cruise departing from Ft. Lauderdale on December 16, 2018, and visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten

"Thanks to the amazing work of the STX France shipyard team, the industry-changing Celebrity Edge is now scheduled to arrive much earlier than anticipated, which gave us the opportunity to offer not one, but two maiden voyages,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Both of these maiden voyages, plus the taste of luxury preview sailings, will have all of the festivities one would expect from the launch of such a revolutionary new ship, and now even more guests will have the chance to experience these one-of-a-kind inaugural sailings."

In addition to the alternating maiden voyages, Celebrity will also be offering four new Edge Preview Sailings, perfect for eager guests who simply can’t wait to get a taste of luxury. These three-night Bahamas cruises will also sail round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, FL., departing on November 21, November 24, December 3, and December 6. Celebrity Edge will homeport in Fort Lauderdale, FL., now making her first sailing November 21, 2018.

Princess Debuts New Features and Upgrades Onboard Star Princess to Start Hawaii Season
Star Princess has returned to service following a two-week multi-million-dollar renovation, outfitting the ship with some of the latest Princess Cruises product innovations and enhancements to various onboard areas.

Resuming a season of 15-day Hawaiian Island cruises roundtrip from Los Angeles and Vancouver through April before summer cruising in Alaska, Star Princess guests will enjoy new or updated onboard offerings.

"Star Princess now offers many of the signature product innovations our guests have come to love, including the Princess Luxury Bed, Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center and revamped Sabatini's," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "These enhancements continue our $450 million multi-year ship renovation campaign, 'Come Back New Promise', enhancing our onboard guest experience."

Sabatini's Italian Trattoria – this signature specialty restaurant now offers updated décor and a new menu developed in collaboration with Chef Angelo Auriana, Executive Chef and partner at the authentic Italian restaurants, The Factory Kitchen and Officine BRERA, in Los Angeles. Inspired by fresh Northern Italian flavors the menu features handmade pasta dishes from Chef Auriana, as well as family recipes from Italian Princess executive chefs.

Princess Luxury Bed – available in every stateroom aboard Star Princess, the Princess Luxury Bed was developed by Princess Cruises in collaboration board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus and renowned HGTV designer Candice Olson. The bed offers the ultimate night of sleep at sea combining the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design.

Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center – for cruisers ages 3-17, Star Princess now offers a reimagined youth center – Camp Discovery – created in partnership with Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications™, as part of the cruise line's Discovery at Sea program. Catering to specific age groups, there are three center themes where kids and teens can make new friends and participate in activities specially designed to help them discover, play, create and huddle.

Enhanced Boutiques – guests will enjoy aesthetic enhancements to the Shops of Princess, offering an upgraded shopping experience, such as a branded Effy Fine Jewelry boutique and a modern Fragrance & Cosmetic shop. There will also be new products to choose from such as a new collection of Princess and Under Armour branded athletic wear and Princess logo apparel featured in a newly designed Logo shop.

Lotus Spa & Fitness Center – in a space where guests can relax and invigorate, salon and treatments rooms have been upgraded and the latest in fitness equipment is now available.

Casino – for guests ready to take a gamble, reconfiguration of machines and tables, as well new carpet tempt them to roll the dice.

Other general refurnishing upgrades of carpet and upholstery are found throughout Star Princess.

Seabourn Sojourn Adds Signature Restaurant
Seabourn announces major enhancements to the guest experience on Seabourn Sojourn, including the addition of the line's new signature restaurant, The Grill by Thomas Keller, and the new mindful living program created by Dr. Andrew Weil.

TThe programs were launched following a recent dry dock period for Seabourn Sojourn, which also included a variety of detailed updates throughout the ship. Many of the public areas received new carpet and design touches. Suites were refreshed, and Owner's, Signature and Wintergarden Suites in particular were notably enhanced with new furniture and soft goods.

"The Grill by Thomas Keller and Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil are the latest in our long tradition of offering the finest guest experiences in luxury travel," said Seabourn President Richard Meadows, noting that both offerings are now available fleetwide. "The outstanding partnerships we have with Chef Keller and Dr. Weil are now complete, with the next iteration to come on Seabourn Ovation when it launches next spring."

The Grill by Thomas Keller
Created via partnership with Seabourn in 2015, The Grill by Thomas Keller is reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 50's and 60's. The Grill is a unique culinary concept for Chef Keller, exclusive to Seabourn, focusing on updated versions of iconic dishes. Guests will be treated to table-side preparations of Caesar salad and ice cream sundaes as well as a range of other favorites like premium steaks, whole roasted chicken, and Lobster Thermidor, presented à la carte. The timeless menu draws on the freshest products from artisan purveyors. A unique cocktail program and premium wine list of domestic and old world labels complement the menu. Design by Adam Tihany further enhances the experience with distinctive spaces enlivened with intimate, elegant, warmly masculine settings.

The Grill by Thomas Keller will be featured on Seabourn Ovation at the ship's launch in May 2018.

Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil
Created in conjunction with The Onboard Spa by Steiner, Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil is the first program of its kind available at sea. As on other vessels across the Seabourn fleet, the Seabourn Sojourn program is led by a dedicated Mindful Living Coach, certified in yoga and meditation, whose role is to inspire and educate throughout the voyage.

The main thrust of the program is the daily practice of meditation and yoga, with some sessions offered on a complimentary basis. Guests can experience Mindful Meditation, with positive affirmations and mantras to reflect upon throughout the day. Yoga classes are varied, with choices focused on physical issues, such as the healing of back and joint pain, headaches and body alignment, as well as enhancement of creativity, mental focus and happiness.

Complimentary Mind and Body seminars are designed to educate guests on philosophies and practices aligned with the program's mission. Onboard seminars adapted from Dr. Weil's best-selling books and research range from Spontaneous Happiness & Spontaneous Healing to Healthy Aging and more. One-on-one wellness sessions on select topics and a variety of wellness services are also available for a fee.

Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil will be featured on Seabourn Ovation at the ship's launch in May 2018.

Seabourn Sojourn will play host to Extended Explorations itineraries during the first part of 2018, which create opportunities for guests who prefer a more in-depth experience of a particular region, or to traverse from one region to another. These longer voyages frequently include more overnight stays in must-see ports. The ship will return to Alaska for the summer in 2018, taking travelers on unique itineraries that include the popular Ventures by Seabourn excursions, an optional, for-charge program that gives guests an up-close look at the natural beauty and environment.

Carnival Cruise Line Launches New Ad Campaign
- Carnival Cruise Line and its newly appointed ad agency of record Anomaly, are launching a new brand campaign called "Choose Fun."

After robust research on Carnival guests, Anomaly discovered that the Carnival brand, guests and crew all share the common belief that fun is a choice and whether on board or ashore, those vacationing with Carnival choose to be their truest self, embrace positivity and have fun with others.

With guests possessing their own definitions of fun, and Carnival offering an array of onboard attractions and experiences, Anomaly, created a campaign to connect the same activities that vacationers enjoy on land with those offered on board on a one-to-one personalized level. Driven by these consumer insights, Choose Fun is designed to attract those who have never cruised, but share the same values and passions.

"As America's Cruise Line, Carnival has always delivered on our brand promise of fun, memorable vacations at a great value," said Carnival's President Christine Duffy. "This new campaign promises to be an irresistible invitation for prospects to rethink their beliefs about cruising and consider Carnival as their next vacation."

The Choose Fun campaign launches with two distinctly different sets of advertising. First, longer-length testimonials depict first-time cruisers who were initially reluctant to set sail but were liberated on a Carnival cruise, making the vacation more fun and memorable for everyone. These testimonials are viewed in unexpected situations such as sliding down a water slide, posing for photos and even conversing with family members under water. The three testimonials include: "Excursions", "Stacy Tracy" and "Insta-worthy".

Additionally, six-second video snippets will be customized to match content on various websites and viewer preferences delivering the ultimate one-to-one marketing. Each pod showcases a fun activity aboard a Carnival ship including biking in the sky on SkyRide, getting a massage at the Cloud 9 Spa, performing at Lip Sync Battle, enjoying the Punchliner Comedy Club and feasting on burgers by Food Network star and Carnival partner Guy Fieri as well as fun activities ashore.

Added Carnival's Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Mayor, "We believe Choose Fun is a bumper sticker Carnival guests would proudly identify with – a rallying cry that inspires those who have never cruised to give it a try. After all, when given a choice between more fun or less fun, who wouldn't choose more fun?"

Choose Fun will come to life in digital display, paid social and modular online videos on platforms such as Amazon Video, Hulu, Roku and Vevo. The new advertising will also air on television in the Atlanta, Houston, Dallas and LA markets during high profile events like the GRAMMY's Red Carpet and NFL Playoff Games.

In these key regional markets, large and disruptive out of home placements will also showcase Carnival's signature bold visual identity and uncommon text-only communications to break through the sea of sameness in the category.

"We couldn't be prouder of this work and new partnership," said Franke Rodriguez, Partner and CEO of Anomaly. "With Choose Fun, Carnival is poised to disrupt the cruise category, launch an innovative go-to-market model, and connect with a new wave of cruisers who share the values of this amazing brand."

Viking Welcomes Ocean Ship To Los Angeles For First Time
Viking today welcomed its fourth and newest ocean ship, Viking Sun to Los Angeles, also the home of the company's U.S. headquarters. The ship is currently sailing Viking's sold-out 141-day World Cruise from Miami to London, and Los Angeles is Viking's first U.S. West Coast port of call in the company's 20-year history. Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen today greeted guests on Viking Sun, and during a press conference onboard unveiled a new multi-channel brand advertising campaign titled, "Did You Know?"

"We have always been a travel company that focuses on exploration and cultural immersion," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "In the last two decades we have led the industry in river cruising, and as we become the leading small ship ocean cruise line we have an opportunity to introduce many new travelers to the Viking way of exploration. Our new 'Did You Know?' campaign is aimed at inspiring people who may not yet know what makes us so different in the industry, why we are the most award-winning cruise line and how we can provide more included value than any other cruise company."

Timed with the cruise industry's "Wave Season" in January, the launch of Viking's new "Did You Know?" campaign will feature new creative advertisements that will appear across all marketing channels, including TV, print and digital. Aimed at travel agents and the company's target audience of experienced travelers 55 and older, the campaign highlights Viking's industry differentiators, including its inclusive value with a shore excursion included in every port, as well as what Viking is not – no formal nights, no kids and no casinos. The campaign will also share Viking's award-winning history, such as being named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line in Travel + Leisure's 2016 and 2017 World's Best Awards and the #1 River Cruise Line in Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards.

At the press conference, Hagen also announced that the company's sixth ship will be named Viking Jupiter. Scheduled to launch in February 2019, the 930-guest sister ship will sail Viking's most popular itineraries in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as two new itineraries in South America – Southern Atlantic Crossing (22 days; Barcelona – Buenos Aires) and South America & the Chilean Fjords (18 days; Buenos Aires – Santiago).

Carnival Cruise Line Announces Four New Craft Beers At Carnival Horizon's Onboard Brewery
Carnival Cruise Line has announced the names of the four craft beers that will be brewed aboard the new Carnival Horizon which is set to debut in Europe April 2, 2018.

The refreshing new brews were developed by Carnival's expert brewmaster Colin Presby and will be offered at Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse, a new dining concept that combines the best of both worlds – an onboard brewery and a full-service restaurant featuring "real deal" BBQ favorites and sides developed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, a member of the American Royal National Barbecue Hall of Fame.

The announcement was made by Presby and Carnival Vice President of Beverage Operations Edward Allen at a traditional keg-tapping ceremony held aboard Carnival Vista, the first North American-based cruise ship to feature an onboard brewery. The names of the beers – whose names are playful takes on the line's popular ThirstyFrog brews that debuted on Carnival Vista – are inspired by the varied barbecue offerings at Smokehouse|Brewhouse. The four new beers on Carnival Horizon include:

• ParchedPig Smoked Porter – brewed with in-house smoked malt, this robust, full-bodied beer offers big and bold flavors and notes of molasses and hickory smoke, providing the perfect complement to Smokehouse|Brewhouse's BBQ favorites

• ParchedPig Farmhouse Ale – this lightly hopped beer is distinguished by its blond color, fruity and complex character with mild spice notes that balance the brew's dry finish

• ParchedPig Toasted Amber Ale – highlighted by its rich amber color and notes of toasted caramel and biscuit, this beer is well balanced, smooth and highly drinkable

• ParchedPig West Coast IPA – the embodiment of a traditional West Coast India Pale Ale, this hoppy, intense beer is loaded with bitterness with a bright flavor profile and distinctive aroma of citrus and pine

"Smokehouse|Brewhouse is a unique culinary concept and we've created four fantastic brewed-on-board craft beers that not only showcase different tastes and brewing styles but also serve as the ideal accompaniment to the venue's delicious array of barbecue offerings," said Presby.

offer a rustic, down-home décor as well as a variety of Fieri-designed favorites, all smoked "low and slow" using the chef's signature rubs and spices. The tantalizing offerings include smoked-on-board brisket, Memphis-style back ribs, dry-rubbed chicken, pulled pork, and cedar-smoked salmon, along with the chef's own take on traditional sides and his signature sauces. Dinner menu items are offered on an a la carte basis with a free-of-charge self-service BBQ lunch buffet available on embarkation day and sea days. A host of other dining venues aboard Carnival Horizon are also available, including the line's first teppanyaki restaurant, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina eatery, the 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano, and the New England-inspired Seafood Shack.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.06 - 0.48%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 121.09 + 1.56%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.76 + 1.73%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.66 + 2.56%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
For safety and speed reasons, the SS United States, once the fastest ship afloat, was constructed almost entirely of aluminium and steel. In fact, it was said that there were only two items made of wood on board the entire ship. What were those two items?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - The former Atlantic liner that sailed with QE2 was the Stefan Batory of Polish Ocean Lines. She was formerly Holland America's Maasdam.
courtesy of Michael Ohalloran


Cruise News - January 1, 2018

Coast Guard Medevacs 12-year-old From Caribbean Princess Near Miami
The US Coast Guard announced that they had medevaced a 12-year-old Canadian boy from the cruise ship, Caribbean Princess, approximately 230 miles southeast of Miami, Tuesday.

Early Tuesday evening, the Coast Guard District Seven watchstanders received a call from the cruise ship stating the 12-year-old boy was suffering from symptoms of appendicitis and was in need of medical assistance.

In response to the cruise ship's request for medical assistance, a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater was launched at approximately 7:00 p.m. The helicopter arrived on the scene and transported the patient and his father to awaiting emergency medical services at Air Station Miami at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Seabourn Celebrate Its 30th Anniversary Year
The 30th Anniversary of Seabourn starts with the turn of the calendar to 2018. But the anniversary celebration will continue throughout the year as the world's finest ultra-luxury cruise line rolls out unique events and amenities created just for the occasion for guests, Seabourn team members and travel professional partners to enjoy around the world.

"Our 30th Anniversary is a wonderful occasion to celebrate the reputation we've earned as the world's finest ultra-luxury cruise line by providing guests with opportunities to experience the most intriguing destinations around the globe on the most desirable ships at sea," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "As we continue to grow, those opportunities will grow as well. For now, though, we invite guests to sit back and soak up the ultra-luxury innovations we've pioneered and special touches we've created in celebration of our third decade at sea."

Here are some highlights to look forward to during Seabourn's 30th Anniversary year:

A New Vessel: Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn will expand its highly acclaimed fleet from four ships to five with the addition of Seabourn Ovation, launching in spring 2018. Like all Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising upon their introduction in 2009, Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service by a dedicated, thoughtful crew.

The addition of Seabourn Ovation will further reinforce Seabourn's position as the youngest and most modern ultra-luxury fleet in the industry. Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, the ship will feature modern design elements and innovations in keeping with the line's reputation for understated elegance, and it will be configured with one additional deck, expanded public areas, and unique offerings such as Seabourn's new signature dining experience The Grill by Thomas Keller, and the new mindful living program Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil.

Following the ship's delivery, Seabourn Ovation will embark on an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship will go on to spend the majority of her maiden season cruising the waters of Northern Europe, offering a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian cruises between Copenhagen and Stockholm, which will include the line's signature three-day stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles.

Here's to 30 More Years!
Whatever the vessel, guests can anticipate a variety of vibrant offerings over the 30th Anniversary year ahead. Start with a toast to three decades of cruising excellence with an exclusive Passion Pearls cocktail created by world-renowned mixologist Brian van Flandern, who has transformed the line's craft cocktail program over the past two years. In keeping with the tradition of pearls to mark a 30th year, the cocktail combines ingredients inspired by one of Hollywood's most iconic luminaries, Audrey Hepburn, mixing passion fruit puree, Champagne, Hennessey VSOP Cognac and more. Notes Van Flandern: "Like Seabourn, Audrey's career spanned the globe and continues to inspire the next generation of world travelers who enjoy the simple pleasures of a luxury lifestyle in the company of likeminded people of good taste."

The celebration began in earnest on New Year's Eve across the Seabourn fleet. Additional 30th Anniversary-inspired enticements await guests throughout 2018 on their Seabourn cruise, where special touches will be seen in suites and at special events and dinners. While guests always enjoy a wide variety of complimentary fine wines and spirits onboard, a special 30th Anniversary Wine Package, featuring a selection of top quality wine and champagne, will also be available for purchase during the celebration. Additionally, The Shops will feature a special collection of pearls this spring along with commemorative 30th anniversary merchandise. Guests will even be challenged on their knowledge of Seabourn during onboard trivia matches.

A History of Innovation At Sea
Seabourn was born in 1987 out of a belief that travelers would appreciate a cruise experience intensely focused on providing personalized, anticipatory service; a relaxed, club-like atmosphere; and a place that encourages easy, carefree sociability. The line noted that its success depended on travelers recognizing and valuing those attributes and returning to experience them again and again.

Among the line's early innovations: The creation of an onboard experience that felt like something experienced on a private yacht, where virtually everything required for a guest's onboard enjoyment was included in the fare, including all-suite accommodation, dining and complimentary drinks. The idea was to create a relaxed social atmosphere like the one people enjoyed at private clubs. From the earliest days, service was intended to be the finest yet tipping was neither required nor expected by onboard staff.

By 2009, Seabourn responded to evolving guest expectations by revolutionizing the luxury cruise segment with the introduction of 32,000 ton, 458-guest Seabourn Odyssey. Larger than Seabourn's original ships, the Odyssey-class vessels further enhanced a spacious, welcoming environment guests desired. The added space allowed the one of the largest spa facilities in the category, a variety of alternative dining and entertainment venues, plenty of open deck space, and more.

Launched in 2009, Seabourn Odyssey was declared "a game-changer" by the media. Two additional sister ships, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest, followed in 2010 and 2011, while Seabourn sold its original ships to enable a more consistent fleet profile. The fourth new vessel, Seabourn Encore, was launched in December 2016. The fleet will expand again with Seabourn Ovation in spring 2018, reinforcing the brand's position as the newest ultra-luxury fleet in the industry.

Seabourn continues to raise the bar. The ships travel to many of the world's most desirable destinations, including marquee cities, more than 170 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lesser known ports and hideaways. Ventures by Seabourn invites guests to participate in active optional, for-charge excursions in kayaks and Zodiacs on select voyages. Partnerships with select companies and individuals whose dedication to superior quality, exceptional service and consistent customer satisfaction mirrors Seabourn's has resulted in programs such as 'An Evening with Tim Rice', a new evening entertainment experience created exclusively for the line in association with Belinda King Creative Productions; Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, offering a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being; and The Grill by Thomas Keller, reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 50's and 60's.

Seabourn continues to innovate its offerings to the luxury traveler with the launch of several new programs and initiatives in 2018, including two Wellness Cruises with Dr. Andrew Weil, and a selection of land-based immersive Seabourn Journeys that will elevate the cruise experience in remarkable destinations around the world."Our 30th Anniversary is a wonderful occasion to celebrate the reputation we've earned as the world's finest ultra-luxury cruise line by providing guests with opportunities to experience the most intriguing destinations around the globe on the most desirable ships at sea," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "As we continue to grow, those opportunities will grow as well. For now, though, we invite guests to sit back and soak up the ultra-luxury innovations we've pioneered and special touches we've created in celebration of our third decade at sea."

MSC Cruises Deploys Innovative Man Overboard Detection Technology
MSC Cruises recently announced the launch of a new vanguard video surveillance system offering even greater on-board security. In another industry-first, MSC Cruises has developed this highly-sophisticated advanced system in collaboration with global leaders in security technology, Bosch and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The integrated system announced today is part of a bigger MSC Cruises operation to further optimize security monitoring on board the ship and will allow, among other features, for the speediest intervention in the unlikely event a person or object falls overboard. After a successful pilot phase of extensive stress-testing and continuous software upgrades, the intelligent video capturing and analysis system is now operational – initially on MSC Cruises’ latest flagship, MSC Meraviglia.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman said: “The security and safety of our guests and crew on board has always been our highest priority. Therefore – as innovation has been from day one central to the way in which we operate and develop new features for our ships – we have developed a highly-innovative solution that, through the use of military-grade technology, will allow ship command to take immediate action if needed. While a ship at sea is a challenging environment for accurate video security monitoring and operating high-tech equipment, our teams have managed to successfully develop a system that is at the same time accurate, stable and reliable.”

The new MSC Cruises system consists of a comprehensive shield of intelligent optical and thermal video cameras which provide nonstop comprehensive surveillance alongside the relevant exterior parts of the ship. All captured video images are streamed in real-time to a Central Security Room where the video stream is monitored together with all other inputs from the 1,200 HD CCTV cameras on board the ship.

MSC Cruises Security Department and experts from Bosch and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have worked over 14 months to meet demanding security requirements and create the right surveillance setup. While a key component in the surveillance infrastructure is to install highly resilient hardware (cameras, casing, base) that resists tough conditions at sea, a significant part of the process is to program the software in such a way it provides reliable and accurate data. In order to further increase the accuracy of the captured video images, the latter are processed and analysed by two separate and independent image processing systems.

This double security system has allowed to significantly lower the error margin for false alerts – typically caused by natural movements such as waves, reflection of sun or moon, or a bird triggering the alarm. These ordinary interferences usually pose significant challenges for current shipboard CCTV technology. Through over 25,000 hours of video analysis, extensive software testing and continuous algorithmic updates, the system has now reached a confirmed accuracy level of 97%.

In case of alarm, an acoustic signal and light will alert the ship’s Security Officer in the Central Security Room who can immediately connect to the system and acquire all images and data and, if necessary, retrieve or review the relevant video images. The Security Officer has direct access to the ship command at the Bridge to allow for immediate action.

This new man overboard detection system was developed to further optimize security aspects for all guests and crew on board the ship. As MSC Cruises is bringing to the sea some of the very latest advances in customer-centric technology, investments in innovative, state-of-the-art maritime technology, safety and security have been central to the Company’s strategy.

The system is now operational on MSC Meraviglia and is a first of its kind in the industry. Over time, similar integrated systems will be developed and deployed across MSC Cruises’ global fleet.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line's Grand Celebration Returns To Service
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, the only Line with a two-night cruise departing year-round from the Port of Palm Beach, announced that Grand Celebration has returned to service with several new guest-focused enhancements, including a new adult-only area, a revitalized casino, and specialty coffee and juice bar. The returned to its regularly scheduled two-night sailings just in time for the holidays on December 23, 2017 from its homeport in West Palm Beach, Florida. Holiday festivities were schedule including an appearance by Santa and a special New Year’s Eve party will ring in 2018 in style.

Since late September, Grand Celebration had been chartered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and was providing housing to first responders and National Guard members who were helping to rebuild the U.S. Virgin Islands following damage caused by Hurricane Irma and Maria.

The company also announced that its new 52,900 gross ton ship, set to arrive in April, will be named Grand Classica and will also sail two-night cruises to Grand Bahama Island. With this second ship, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will become the only Line to offer daily departures to the Bahamas from the Port of Palm Beach. The company signed a three-year agreement with the Bahamas to bring both of its ships to Grand Bahama Island for two-night cruises, as well as its signature Cruise & Resort Stay packages.

“We are pleased to have been able to assist those in need in the Caribbean. Now we are ready to return to offering memorable cruises to our guests. We are excited to welcome an even better Grand Celebration back to Palm Beach, just in time for the holidays, with several new spaces for our guests to enjoy,” said Oneil Khosa, chief executive officer of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. “We are also looking forward to the arrival of our new ship, Grand Classica, in April, and have strengthened our relationship with The Bahamas by signing a three-year agreement to bring both ships to Grand Bahama Island, thus offering daily arrivals to Grand Bahama Island and giving our guests added convenience to fit their schedules.”

Grand Celebration Enhancements

The 1,900 passenger Grand Celebration will set sail on December 23 with the following upgrades:

• Expanded, Enhanced Casino – For those seeking lady luck at sea, Grand Celebration’s Par-A-Dice Casino has doubled in size, offering more slot machines, video poker and enhanced table games. Nearly 70 of the most popular slot games have been added to the casino, bringing the total number of slots to 125, in addition to several new video poker machines. The casino’s table games area, which include Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, Three Card Poker and the Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, have been divided into two comfortable areas and now also include raised maximum betting limits, the ability to make additional wages while playing blackjack, and the addition of electronic roulette machines for those who like to play without a crowd watching.

• New Adult-Only Area – The forward sun deck at the top of the ship has now become The Oasis – a complimentary adult-only area for those ages 18 and over that want to relax and unwind in serenity. The expansive area includes a bar, a large hot tub, all new sun loungers and several outdoor daybeds.

• Specialty Coffee Bar and Juice Bar – Baristas will prepare specialty coffees and offer delectable gelato and pastries at the new Grand Café on Deck 9. Menu items feature a variety of hot or iced specialty coffees, teas and other beverages, including smoothies and freshly squeezed juices. In the morning, guests can indulge in chocolate croissants, Viennese pastries, muffins and quiche. Throughout the day, the Grand Café will offer delectable sweet treats, including delicious homemade gelato, sorbet, cakes, tarts, cupcakes and chocolate truffles. To celebrate the holidays, Grand Celebration has everything guests need to have a jolly time, with cruises departing every other day, beginning on Saturday, December 23 with sailings on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Special festive holiday menus will be available in the complimentary and specialty restaurants, and holiday decorations will adorn public areas

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.37 - 0.03%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.23 - 1.51%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.73 - 3.89%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.25 - 1.44%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
During warm weather duty in the 20's and 30's swimming pools suddenly appeared on the decks of transatlantic liners. How were these temporary pools constructed?

Answer - Temporary pools were usually heavy canvas lined open cargo hatches. Some with supported bottoms.
courtesy of Bill Deibert, Alexandria, VA.


Cruise News - December 25, 2017

MSC Cruises Names MSC Seaside At Star-Studded Ceremony At Portmiami
Last friday night, MSC Seaside was named in a glittering ceremony by international screen legend and Godmother for all MSC Cruises' ships, Sophia Loren. MSC Seaside, already recognized as one of the more innovative cruise ships in the industry, is the second ship to be launched in the past six months by the leading European cruise line as part of its industry-unprecedented 12 new mega-ships that MSC Cruises, the Switzerland-founded and based world's largest privately owned cruise line, will bring into service between 2017 and 2026.

"MSC Seaside's naming embodies a pivotal moment for MSC Cruises and the industry overall. She is the first ship of the fifth new prototype that we have developed since we entered this industry only in 2003, and she introduces a wholly-innovative concept that has already set a new standard for the industry to follow," said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises' Executive Chairman. "The distinctive and unique Seaside Class is designed to bring guests closer to the sea to enjoy cruising in warm weather, while pushing the boundaries of maritime and guest-centric technology – the way only a cruise line with over 300 years of maritime tradition could have done."

"MSC Seaside has been designed to spearhead the next phase of our growth in North America, a cornerstone of our global strategy. She will be one of three MSC Cruises ships to homeport in Miami – MSC Seaside, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Divina, one from each of our newest classes of ship. She marks our ambition to establish a significant presence in North America, after firmly rooting our position as number one cruise brand in Europe and having established a leading presence in other key cruise markets globally," added Mr. Vago.

MSC Cruises also announced a new partnership specifically for MSC Seaside and relevant for the North American market. The new partnership with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF) where MSC Cruises' guest donations will support ABF's valuable work in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world currently facing exceptional challenges.

Every dollar donated on board by a guest will go directly to the Foundation to make a real difference, establishing schools that become community centers and launching projects such as the Mobile Clinic, providing health care assistance and prevention, clean water, lighting and agricultural development, transforming the lives of their communities.

Mr. Vago commented on the ABF partnership, "MSC Seaside will sail year around in the Caribbean, and with this partnership we wish to express our commitment to giving something back to the places where we operate. This charitable activity is in fact focused on helping the children of Haiti. They are the future and deserve the best and, as a family-owned company, this is a cause close to our hearts."

To mark the launch of the partnership with ABF, the world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli took to the stage during the naming ceremony with 30 children from the Voices of Haiti, a talented choir of Haitian school students aged between 6 and 14 that brings music into the schools of the ABF and St. Luke Foundation for Haiti.

"The sea is a place of freedom; it is the guardian of fascinating wonders, of answers that help us grow. Being an artist means being an explorer. It is therefore a particularly joyful opportunity for me to bring on board my singing and most importantly the voices, joy and enthusiasm of the children's choir the 'Voices of Haiti,'" said Andrea Bocelli. "This choir is the result of one of the educational projects carried out, in Haiti and beyond, by the Foundation bearing my name."

Mr. Bocelli continued, "MSC Cruises has always supported philanthropic projects and, in line with this tradition, MSC Seaside's naming marks a further inauguration: the launch of the partnership between MSC Cruises and the Andrea Bocelli Foundation. It will therefore be possible to set sail together and to simultaneously begin a compelling adventure of solidarity, of getting to know each other and supporting our important initiatives while on board."

In collaboration with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, the project aims to reach over 2,550 children in five communities in Haiti.

High quality, international dining is one of the key highlights of the MSC Cruises offering for guests and MSC Seaside takes this to the next level with six specialty restaurants featuring concepts from around the globe. One of these is a brand new dining experience from pan-Asian chef and international culinary pioneer, Roy Yamaguchi, with whom MSC Cruises has partnered to create a new Asian-Fusion dining concept, Asian Market Kitchen.

To celebrate the coming into service of MSC Seaside, the Swiss-based global cruise line hosted a high-profile event in PortMiami and paid homage to traditional seafaring customs. Guests in attendance included guests from around the globe, including authorities and key partners from the travel industry, as well as US and global media alongside guests from closer to home.

Headlining the entertainment for the evening's Naming Ceremony was multiple GRAMMY and LATIN GRAMMY winner, Ricky Martin, who is well-known for his high-energy and thrilling performances that have captivated millions of people throughout the world. Beloved by fans worldwide for his instinctive understanding of rhythm, passion for performing, and equal compassion for giving, Ricky Martin truly encompasses the international spirit of MSC Cruises and the city of Miami.

Making a guest appearance at the event was Miami football legend and Hall of Fame quarterback, Dan Marino, who was with the Miami Dolphins for 17 years. Earlier this year, MSC Cruises signed a partnership with the Miami Dolphins and became the official cruise line for the team, further strengthening the cruise line's relationship with the South Florida community – where its US operations are based. Fans and guests will have the chance to experience the Miami Dolphins at sea and meet team alumni on a themed cruise on MSC Seaside in 2018. Marino presented MSC Cruises USA President Roberto Fusaro with a signed football helmet to be displayed on board as a symbol of the partnership.

The finale of the evening's events was the time-honored tradition of breaking a bottle of champagne over the bow of the ship as MSC Seaside was officially named aloud. As a company with a strong maritime heritage dating over 300 years, observing these seafaring traditions is important to MSC Cruises and bringing good luck to this new ship tonight, as always, was Sophia Loren as Godmother to her 12th MSC Cruises ship. As one of the most celebrated Italian actresses of our time, the glamorous screen-legend is practically part of the MSC Cruises family.

In charge of the whole evening's entertainment was actor and popular American TV host, Mario Lopez, who served as the Master of Ceremonies. Lopez also welcomed guests to the star-lit festivities on the "Blue Carpet," where celebrities gave interviews, took photographs, and met the crowds. Lopez then took to the stage to host the evening's entertainment.

But the main star of the show was none other than MSC Seaside. Quite unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will shine among Miami's skyline commanding attention with its revolutionary design. Inspired by the architecture and lifestyle of Miami, the ship will be right at home in warm South Florida waters. Highly-innovative in design as well as on board features, the ship will feature world-class entertainment, a range of international dining concepts, a gorgeous spa, outstanding family-friendly facilities, the private "ship within a ship" MSC Yacht Club, and expansive outdoor spaces. The striking MSC Seaside is just one more reason for guests from North America, and all over the world, to join MSC Cruises on an unforgettable trip that follows the sun.

MSC Seaside will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean offering 7-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries starting December 23.

Celebrity Cruises’ Reveals 2019 Alaska Cruise Season Details
Sailing from Vancouver through the awe-inspiring Inside Passage to the iconic Hubbard Glacier and beyond, Celebrity Cruises’ 2019 Alaska cruise season features 13 unforgettable destinations, with more than 40 extended port visits and countless experiences. With three ships in the region – Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, and Celebrity Millennium – the brand’s expertly thought-out 7-night itineraries and in-depth shore excursions will bring guests up close and personal with all of Alaska’s must-see wonders.

“With Celebrity Millennium emerging fresh from the Celebrity Revolution – the largest investment the brand has ever made to modernize our fleet – longer port visits, and one-of-kind cruisetour experiences, our 2019 Alaska season is shaping up to be the most impressive yet,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Add to that the addition of Celebrity Eclipse and we have what promises to be an unrivaled season of unexpected splendor in the region.”

Celebrity Eclipse
Embark on round-trip sailings from Vancouver through the stunning Inside Passage, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, and more. Guests can settle in with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket at The Lawn Club or on their spacious, private veranda, and watch the awe-inspiring scenery unfold before them. These are whale-breaching, breathtaking modern luxury sailings previously only offered on Celebrity Infinity.

A new eclipse is coming to the Pacific Coast in 2019 as well; Celebrity Eclipse is the perfect complement to this majestic stretch of coastline. Sail round-trip from Los Angeles, from Los Angeles to Vancouver, or from San Diego to Vancouver, on an array of seven- to nine-night Pacific Coastal sailings.

The 2019 Pacific Coastal season features 10 dazzling destinations, including Monterey, Santa Barbara, Catalina, and more. Overnight stays in San Francisco mean guests can explore all the city’s must-sees, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Painted Ladies, head into the wine country and sample the best local vintages, and enjoy the legendary restaurant scene and nightlife.

Celebrity Millennium
Modern luxury travelers looking to venture farther into the vast expanse of the region can enjoy alternating open-jaw sailings out of Vancouver, British Columbia, or Seward, Alaska, aboard Celebrity Millennium.

Fresh from her multi-million-dollar revitalization, part of the Celebrity Revolution, Celebrity Millennium returns to Alaska. Completely redesigned staterooms will make unwinding after a day of adventure easier than ever, and dazzlingly renovated public venues will be the perfect complement to the exciting destinations guests will visit along this Seward-to-Vancouver (or vice versa) route.

Celebrity Solstice
Once again, Celebrity Solstice embarks from the dynamic city of Seattle for a roundtrip exploration that visits Victoria, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, and traverses the incredible Tracy Arm Fjord.

Under the starry Alaskan night sky, guests can enjoy the iconic gastronomic adventure A Taste of Film, which pairs films that evoke a specific cultural, culinary or destination experience, with cuisine that brings the scenes on the screen to life through guests’ taste buds.

Martha Poulter Named Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer For Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) has named Martha Poulter senior vice president and chief information officer. Poulter joins RCL after spending the last 13 years of her career as CIO for major corporations such as Starwood Hotels and Resorts and GE Capital. Poulter will report directly to Adam Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

"Martha certainly has the background to make a difference at Royal Caribbean," said Goldstein. "She'll bring that experience to bear on a full range of challenges here, including our plans to evolve the fleet's IT infrastructure, keep pace with the rapid evolution underway in important areas like data privacy and security, and ramp up support for the Excalibur digital transformation that is underway across our company."

Poulter most recently served as executive vice president and CIO for Starwood Hotel and Resorts, where she led a global IT team integrated across Starwood's nine brands and operational platforms, as well as serving as a member of Starwood's leadership team. Prior to that, Poulter spent nearly two decades at General Electric, including time as CIO of GE Capital.

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to join Royal Caribbean, a company that stands for excellence and innovation in the travel industry," said Poulter. "Working with the IT team, we will help RCL develop and support the technologies necessary for running a global business in a digital world."

Poulter graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering and received her MBA from the University of New Haven.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.35 - 0.38%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 121.06 - 4.36%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.80 - 1.10%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.03 - 1.73%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
During warm weather duty in the 20's and 30's swimming pools suddenly appeared on the decks of transatlantic liners. How were these temporary pools constructed?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
The freighter Free State Mariner became a popular cruise ship after being rebuilt in 1952. What was her name after the conversion?

Answer - Built in 1952 she was bought by Matson in 1955 and renamed Monterey. She sailed South Pacific for Matson from 1957 to 1970, when she was transferred to Pacific Far East Lines continuing to sail to S. Pacific until 1978. Finally sold to Star Lauro Lines, which became MSC Cruises and sailed in European waters until 2006 when she was laid up with boiler troubles. Sold for scrap and reached Alang in Nov 2006
courtesy of Peter Cant, Vancouver BC


Cruise News - December 18, 2017

Royal Caribbean Cruise Passengers Killed In Mexico Bus Accident
Royal Caribbean Cruises confirmed that a number of cruise passengers from Serenade of the Seas and Celebrity Equinox were killed when the tour bus they were riding in overturned during a shore excursion in Costa Maya, Mexico on Tuesday.

"Our hearts go out to all those involved in the bus accident in Costa Maya. We are doing all we can to care for our guests, including assisting with medical care and transportation," a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman said in a statement. "Our 27 guests from Celebrity Equinox and Serenade of the Seas were on a bus tour to the Chacchoben Ruins. We are working with the local authorities to learn more about the accident."

According to local new reports, at least 12 people were killed in the accident and more than 20 suffered various injuries. At the time of the incident, the tour bus was headed to the Chacchoben Mayan ruins which are located approximately 110 miles south of Tulum. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

The spokeswoman said Celebrity Equinox is on a seven-night Caribbean cruise that departed Port Miami on Saturday. The cruise is making stops in Key West, Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Georgetown, Grand Cayman.

Serenade of the Seas ship is also on a seven-night Caribbean Cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale on Friday, with calls to Key West, Roatan, Honduras; and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

Ponant Signs Contract For Electric Hybrid Cruise Icebreaker
Vard has secured a new Nkr2.7bn ($322.8m) contract to design and construct one polar expedition cruise vessel for French company Ponant.The electric hybrid cruise icebreaker features LNG propulsion and was developed by Ponant, Stirling Design International, Aker Arctic and Vard.

It is designed to carry passengers to a variety of polar destinations such as the true geographic North Pole, the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island.

The new electric hybrid cruise icebreaker is equipped with dual fuel propulsion systems and features high-capacity batteries and LNG storage on-board. It will also be fitted with two helicopters in in-house hangars.

The Ponant icebreaker will weigh approximately 30,000 gross tonnes and is set to measure roughly 150m-long and 28m-wide. The vessel will have a cruising speed of 15k in open water and be capable of accommodating 270 passengers in 135 staterooms, in addition to a crew of 180 personnel.

Vard CEO and executive director Roy Reite said: “This is a really exciting project for us, and we look forward to building the Ponant icebreaker for polar expedition voyages. “Vard has a deep experience in icebreaking technology; over generations, we have built several highly advanced vessels developed for operations in polar areas.”

The hull will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania, while delivery of the completed vessel in scheduled from Vard Søviknes in Norway in the second quarter of 2021.

Vard is also constructing four luxury expedition cruise vessels for Ponant as part of a separate development.The first vessel in the series is planned to be delivered in the second quarter of next year, followed by the handover of the final three units between 2018 and 2019.

Carnival Corporation Reports Full Year And Fourth Quarter Earnings
Carnival Corporation & plc announced U.S. GAAP net income for the full year 2017 of $2.6 billion, or $3.59 diluted EPS, compared to $2.8 billion, or $3.72 diluted EPS, for the prior year. Full year 2017 adjusted net income of $2.8 billion, or $3.82 adjusted EPS, was higher than adjusted net income of $2.6 billion, or $3.45 adjusted EPS, for the full year 2016. Adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $227 million and previously reported impairments and other net charges of $390 million for the full year 2017. For the full year 2016, adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $236 million and other net charges of $37 million. Revenues for the full year 2017 were $17.5 billion, $1.1 billion higher than the $16.4 billion in the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted, "We exceeded the high end of our original full year 2017 guidance by $0.22 per share, achieving record cash from operations of $5.3 billion and another adjusted earnings per share record despite a significant drag from fuel and currency. Our full year performance was led by over 4.5 percent growth in ticket prices while overcoming a variety of headwinds, affirming that our core strategy, which is anchored in delivering exceptional guest experiences, driving demand through marketing programs to increase cruise consideration, and introducing new more efficient ships through measured capacity growth all while leveraging our scale, can deliver consistent earnings improvements."

2018 Outlook

At this time, cumulative advance bookings for full year 2018 are ahead of the prior year at higher prices. Since November, booking volumes for 2018 have been running well ahead of the prior year at higher prices.

Donald commented, "Despite booking disruptions from this year's multiple hurricanes, we are still heading into 2018 with a stronger base of business and higher prices than last year. We have numerous efforts underway to keep the momentum going in 2018 and beyond, from our innovative approaches to increase consideration for cruising, including our recently announced partnership with Univision, to the further roll-out of our state-of-the-art revenue management system. In 2018 we also look forward to the delivery of four new cutting-edge ships, Carnival Horizon, Seabourn Ovation, AIDAnova, and Nieuw Statendam to further our strategic fleet enhancement program."

Based on current booking trends, Carnival said that it expects full year 2018 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 2.5 percent compared to the prior year. Carnival said that it expects full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency to be up approximately 1.0 percent compared to the prior year.

As a result of higher fuel prices, forecasted fuel costs for the full year 2018 are expected to increase approximately $117 million compared to the prior year, net of realized fuel derivatives, reducing earnings by $0.16 per share. This is partially offset by favorable movements in currency exchange rates, which are forecasted to increase earnings by $0.08 per share.

Taking the above factors into consideration, the company expects full year 2018 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $4.00 to $4.30, compared to 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $3.82.

Donald added, "We remain on track to achieve double digit return on invested capital in 2018. We are committed to the continued distribution of cash to shareholders through increasing dividends, currently totaling $1.3 billion annually, and ongoing share repurchases, which have exceeded $3 billion since late 2015."

First Quarter 2018 Outlook

First quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up approximately 1.5 to 2.5 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency for the first quarter of 2018 are expected to increase by approximately 2.0 to 3.0 percent compared to the prior year. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and changes in currency exchange rates compared to prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.02 per share. Based on the above factors, the company expects adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter 2018 to be in the range of $0.37 to $0.41 versus 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $0.38.

Viking Sun Sets Sail On First World Cruise From Miami To London
Viking today celebrated the kickoff of its inaugural World Cruise on its fourth and newest ocean ship, Viking Sun, welcoming guests in Miami for the sold out 141-day itinerary. Viking Sun will spend nearly the next five months on the World Cruise, which spans five continents, 35 countries and 64 ports. During this journey from Miami to London, guests will first explore Cuba and the Caribbean, before sailing the Panama Canal to call on Los Angeles, the home of Viking's U.S. headquarters and first West Coast port of call. Viking Sun will then sail to the South Pacific, Australia and Asia, where the ship will be christened in Shanghai on March 8, 2018. From there, Viking Sun will continue on with ports of call in Asia and then Europe, before finishing the World Cruise in London on May 5.

"Our World Cruises are the most extensive and culturally immersive journeys available in the industry. For two decades, we have continued to expand our destination-focused itineraries to new regions of the world, so as our fleet grows it is a natural progression for us to offer grand voyages of this scope for our guests," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "Our guests are experienced travelers who want to explore the world in comfort; our offerings allow them to be immersed be in the cultures of the world when they are onshore and when they are onboard our award-winning fleet of sister ships."

In addition to guests, also sailing on the World Cruise will be six casks of Viking's own "Linje" Aquavit. In keeping with a Norwegian tradition that dates back hundreds of years, the Scandinavian spirit will mature in oak barrels during the sailing, crossing the equator (linje) twice as part of the maturation process. According to the tradition, it is believed that the moving seas and frequent temperature changes cause more flavor to be extracted from the casks.

Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe during Viking's 2019 World Cruise. The recently announced 128-day itinerary from Miami to London, will visit five continents and immerse guests in the rich cultures of 21 countries from South America and the South Pacific to Australia and Africa. Like on all Viking itineraries, World Cruise guests will enjoy a complimentary shore excursion in each of the 64 ports and free unlimited Wi-Fi; they will also receive Business Class airfare and all gratuities and service fees, along with an extensive list of added-value inclusions in their cruise fare.

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, have 465 staterooms and host 930 guests

Carnival Fascination To Undergo Multi-Million-Dollar Dry Dock
Carnival Fascination will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that will add a variety of popular food and beverage innovations, including Guy’s Burger Joint developed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, Cherry on Top sweets shop, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, and a Bonsai Sushi Express venue.

The spaces will be added during a two-week dry dock taking place Feb. 4-17, 2018, in Freeport, The Bahamas, prior to the ship resuming its year-round schedule of seven-day southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico, beginning Feb. 18, 2018. Carnival Fascination is currently being chartered to FEMA to house relief workers in St. Croix.

“We can’t wait for our guests to experience these exciting new features aboard Carnival Fascination when she returns to her year-round homeport of San Juan early next year,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, adding that other Carnival ships began visiting San Juan as a port of call Nov. 30.

The new F&B options aboard Carnival Fascination include:

• Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool.

• Cherry on Top: The “sweetest spot on board,” Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.

• Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails.

• Bonsai Sushi Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

These new options complement popular attractions like a WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long Twister slide, Seuss at Sea operated exclusively with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, and myriad entertainment choices including the Punchliner Comedy Club, Playlist Productions shows, and Hasbro, The Game Show, with larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic games.

Carnival Fascination’s year-round schedule from San Juan encompasses week-long sailings to five Caribbean islands: St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Summer 2019 Itineraries
Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed the fleet’s exciting lineup of summer 2019 itineraries, featuring some of the world’s hottest summer destinations. Norwegian’s signature cruising experience, which offers guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal vacation, will be available around the globe with five ships sailing in Europe; three cruising to Alaska; two calling on Bermuda; as well as itineraries that include the Bahamas & Florida, the Caribbean, Canada & New England and the Hawaiian islands. Guests who cruise with Norwegian enjoy a resort-style vacation on some of the youngest ships at sea; they unpack once, then relax as they travel to paradise aboard innovative and action-packed ships that offer up to 27 delicious dining options, Broadway entertainment, more than 20 bars and lounges serving up contemporary craft cocktails and much more. Norwegian’s new itineraries are open for sale now for returning guests and will be available tomorrow, December 20, to the general public.

"We have carefully crafted a mix of itineraries for summer 2019 that provide our guests with an incredible array of cruise vacation experiences in some of the most sought-after destinations across the globe," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. "With exotic cultural-centric cruises in Europe, adventure opportunities in Alaska and quintessential summer beach getaways in Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Hawaii, Norwegian Cruise Line’s itinerary options will fulfill every summer travel wish list."

Alaska
The youngest fleet to sail to the breathtaking glaciers of Alaska will once again return to the region in summer 2019, with Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jewel all cruising to the Last Frontier. After making her debut in summer 2018, Norwegian Bliss will return for her second Alaska season, sailing exciting new seven-day Glacier Bay voyages departing each Sunday from Seattle beginning May 5 through September 22, 2019. The largest and most innovative ship to sail to Alaska, Norwegian Bliss is the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience, including extensive observation lounges and an expansive waterfront featuring dining and lounges. Norwegian Pearl, which recently underwent an extensive renovation earlier this year as a part of the Norwegian Edge program, will sail seven-day Alaska cruises from Seattle departing on Saturdays from May 18 through September 21. Rounding out the Alaska fleet, Norwegian Jewel will return to Vancouver and Seward after a bow to stern enhancement in fall 2018 to sail her incredibly popular seven-day Glacier Bay northbound and Inside Passage southbound Alaska highlights voyages, offering guests the opportunity to combine back-to-back sailings for an immersive 14-day roundtrip cruise.

Bahamas & Florida
For time since 2010, Norwegian Dawn will return to her very first homeport of New York City as essentially a new ship, after undergoing bow to stern enhancements in late 2016. Norwegian Dawn will set sail from Manhattan on seven-day cruises to the Bahamas & Florida, bringing guests the best of beaches, theme parks and sunshine from May 25 to August 31, 2019.

Bermuda
In summer 2019, Norwegian will once again offer guests two convenient departure ports from which to set sail for the pink sand beaches and turquoise blue waters of Bermuda. Guests sailing from Boston will enjoy exploring this exotic Atlantic island from a newer and larger ship, Norwegian Gem, a popular Jewel-class ship that will homeport in Beantown from March 29 through November 8, 2019. Norwegian Escape, which moves to New York City for summer 2018, will continue her stay in the Big Apple through the summer 2019 season, sailing to Bermuda from April 14 until October 20, 2019. Both Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Escape will offer the perfect summer city getaway, with seven-day cruises to Bermuda featuring three full days in port and two overnight stays, so guests can experience the beautiful British territory at their leisure.

Canada & New England
Early summer is the best time to enjoy the beauty and stunning scenery of New England and coastal Canada. Norwegian Dawn will offer four, seven-day cruises to this spectacular coast line in May and June 2019, with calls in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; and Newport, Rhode Island.

Caribbean
After returning from her first winter season in New Orleans, Norwegian Breakaway will reposition from the Big Easy to the cruise capital of the world, PortMiami, for the first time ever. As one of the largest ships in the fleet, the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway will homeport in Miami for her summer 2019 season and cruise a mix of Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Norwegian Breakaway’s seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries will visit Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and the beautiful island destination of Harvest Caye, Belize. Norwegian Breakaway’s seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary will feature some of the region’s most popular ports-of-call including St. Thomas, USVI; Tortola, BVI; Nassau, Bahamas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Europe
The romance, history and charm of Europe will be on full display for guests exploring the region aboard Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Spirit.

After a one year hiatus, Norwegian Getaway will once again return to the Baltic, sailing incredibly popular bucket list itineraries departing from Copenhagen that feature several calls in Scandinavia with an overnight in Russia. From June 7 through August 27, 2019, Norwegian Getaway will sail a variety of nine-day sailings with ports-of-call that include Berlin (Warnemünde), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia and a day cruising past the Stockholm Archipelago.

The popular Norwegian Epic will return to Europe in summer 2019 to sail seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises, with embarkation available in either Barcelona and Rome (Civitavecchia), showcasing the best of Italy, France and Spain. With departures from May 12 through November 3, 2019, guests sailing aboard Norwegian Epic’s seven-day Western Europe cruises will be delighted by some of the most culturally rich and iconic destinations in the world. Guests will also enjoy 22 dining options, 20 bars and lounges, vibrant Broadway entertainment including Priscilla Queen of the Dessert: The Musical and Burn the Floor, and more.

Following an extensive renovation in 2017, Norwegian Jade will spend her summer 2019 season cruising the azure blue waters of the Greek Isles & Italy from May 12 through October 24, 2019. Norwegian Jade’s 10- and 11-day itineraries from Rome (Civitavecchia) will feature a look into some of the world’s most ancient civilizations with calls in Santorini, Athens (Piraeus), Mykonos, and Crete (Chania), Greece; Valletta, Malta; Messina, Sicily; as well as Naples and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy. Norwegian Star, which will undergo a refurbishment in spring 2018, will also sail the Greek Isles and Eastern Mediterranean, offering primarily seven-day cruises with a small selection of nine-, 10-, 11-, and 12-day sailings departing from Venice, Italy from May 12 through November 10, 2019. Norwegian Star will call on some of Greece’s most enchanting island destinations including Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Cephalonia, as well as the outstanding Adriatic destinations of Kotor, Montenegro and Dubrovnik, Croatia on the glimmering Dalmatian Coast.

Norwegian Spirit will home port in Southampton for the summer of 2019 and sail a selection of 10-day or longer once-in-a-lifetime itineraries journeying to the British Isles, Iceland, Norwegian Fjords, the Arctic Circle, and the Baltics. Full itinerary details will be released when the ship opens for sale in mid-January.

Hawaii
As one of the most sought-after tropical and culturally-rich destinations in the world, the islands of Hawaii are best experienced by sea. And Norwegian is the only cruise line that offers a seven-day inter-island itinerary, on the US-flagged Pride of America. Guests will cruise through paradise on a dream vacation with a one-of-a-kind itinerary that offers nearly 100 hours of port time in Hawaii’s main islands, including an overnight in Kahului, Maui; a call in Hilo; Kailua, Kona; an overnight in Nãwiliwili, Kauai; and an afternoon cruising past the breathtaking Nãpali Coast. Norwegian’s Pride of America will depart from Honolulu every Saturday through April 2021.

Launch of the Glory Sea Brings More International Cruise Routes to Haikou
On Christmas Day, Glory Sea will begin sailing to Vietnam's Ha Long Bay from China's "Coconut City," Haikou, after which the ship's owner, Diamond Cruise International Co., will add other destinations, including Da Nang and Nha Trang, as well as Manila and Boracay in the Philippines, in offerings that will last until May 2018.

The new cruises will allow Chinese tourists to immerse themselves in the culture and history of Vietnam and the Philippines, while also attracting tourists from the Southeast Asian nations to Haikou, the sunny Chinese city known for its charming tropical beaches and lush, natural environment.

The new Glory Sea offerings include two-night itineraries to Ha Long Bay, two-night sailings visiting Da Nang, three-night journeys to Ha Noi, four-night voyages to Nha Trang, and five-night offerings to Boracay.

"We work hard to promote better communication and connections with China's neighboring countries and regions, and to provide more options for both inbound and outbound tourists along short-distance leisure routes," said Delin Wen, Researcher of Haikou Tourism Development Commission, "We believe that the new travel opportunities brought by the Glory Sea offer more opportunities for valuable cultural exchange, as well as lots of excitement and fun for tourists."

Diamond Cruise International provides world-class cruise services and pushes the envelope of what is possible on a cruise ship. Executives from the company said in the cruise-line launching news conference that they will deepen their cooperation with Haikou and explore options for expanding the cruise vacationing market in Hainan Province and its neighboring countries and regions.

Built in Germany in 2002 and renovated in May 2016, Glory Sea is the first cruise ship owned by Diamond Cruise International. The ship, 180.45 meters long and 28 meters wide, boasts 8 levels of decks, travels at 22 kn (maximum 28 kn), and can accommodate as many as 1,300 passengers.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.6 - 0.64%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 126.58 + 0.90%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.82 - 2.67%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.98 + 0.48%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
The freighter Free State Mariner became a popular cruise ship after being rebuilt in 1952. What was her name after the conversion?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
If you were departing on a transatlantic crossing from Pier 90 in New York City in the early 1950's, what shipping company would you most likely have been traveling on?

Answer - In the 1950's when you leave the pier 90, you were on a CUNARD's Ocean Liner...
courtesy of Nick Williams, New York City


Cruise News - December 11, 2017

MSC Seaside U.S. Naming Ceremony to Feature Star Studded Line-Up in PortMiami
Today MSC Cruises announced the line-up for the official launch and Naming Ceremony of MSC Seaside, which will be held on December 21st in PortMiami. As part of the traditional Naming Ceremony that is held for every new ship, MSC will welcome special guests and entertainment, Miami authorities, global media, and key partners from across the travel industry. For this very special Miami launch, MSC Cruises is proud to reveal an international list of celebrated invitees that reflects the Company's European heritage and global presence.

Headlining entertainment for the event will be international superstar, Ricky Martin, who will perform some of his most popular hits. Renowned for bringing Latin music to the forefront of popular music, Ricky Martin is a worldwide star who has recorded in many languages, and truly encompasses the international spirit of MSC Cruises and the city of Miami.

Also taking to the stage will be world-famous tenor, Andrea Bocelli, whose dazzling classical career has taken him all over the world – including performances for four U.S. presidents, three Popes, the British Royal Family, and several Prime Ministers, to name just a few.

Making a guest appearance at the event will be Miami football legend and Hall of Fame quarterback, Dan Marino, who played for the Miami Dolphins for 17 years. MSC Cruises signed a partnership with the Miami Dolphins in October of this year, becoming the official cruise line for the team and further strengthening its relationship with the South Florida community. Fans and guests will have the chance to experience the Miami Dolphins at sea and meet team alumni on a themed cruise aboard MSC Seaside in 2018.

In charge of it all will be actor and popular American TV host, Mario Lopez, who will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Lopez will welcome guests to the star-lit festivities on MSC's "Blue Carpet," where celebrities will give interviews, take photographs, and meet the crowds. Lopez will then take to the stage to host the evening's entertainment.

An MSC Cruises' Naming Ceremony would not be complete without the ship's Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time-honored tradition since 2003. As one of the most celebrated Italian actresses of our time, the glamorous Sophia Loren will christen the ship with a ribbon-cutting and officially name the spectacular vessel, MSC Seaside.

But the main star of the show will be none other than MSC Seaside. Quite unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will shine among Miami's skyline – commanding attention with its revolutionary design. Inspired by the architecture and lifestyle of Miami, the ship will be right at home in warm South Florida waters. The state-of-the-art ship will offer world-class entertainment, a range of international dining concepts, a gorgeous spa, outstanding facilities for families, a private yacht club (MSC Yacht Club), and expansive outdoor spaces.

Carnival To Bring Newer, Larger Ship To Charleston In May 2019
Carnival Cruise Line will position a newer, larger ship to Charleston when the 3,002-passenger Carnival Sunshine kicks off a year-round schedule of four- and five-day cruises in May 2019.

Carnival Sunshine provides an exciting new vacation choice from Charleston and features one of the widest arrays of food, beverage and entertainment options within the Carnival fleet, including spectacular open-air attractions like the WaterWorks aqua park and SportSquare recreation area, a stunning three-deck-high adults-only retreat featuring a waterfall and adjoining pool, several specialty restaurants and more than 550 staterooms with private balconies.

"With its convenient location and strong tourism appeal, Charleston is one of our most popular homeports and we're delighted to build upon this success with the deployment of Carnival Sunshine," Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Carnival Sunshine not only provides guests sailing from Charleston with a newer, larger ship with so much to see and do but also underscores our commitment to our year-round operations from this port," she added.

Added Jim Newsome, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) president and CEO, "The decision by Carnival Cruise Line to homeport the Carnival Sunshine in Charleston is an important affirmation of their success and commitment to operations in Charleston. SCPA's cruise business is an important part of our maritime commerce mission and diversification of business segments. The Port succeeds through having world-class brands, such as Carnival Cruise Line, as its direct customers and looks forward to continuing this productive relationship."

Carnival Sunshine will kick off its four- and five-day cruise program from Charleston May 18, 2019, and is expected to carry approximately 220,000 passengers annually from that port.

Four-day cruises will visit the Bahamian capital of Nassau while five-day voyages will feature Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay. Each of these destinations offers world-class beaches and excellent water sports opportunities, including kayaking, paddle-boarding and snorkeling.

Guests sailing aboard Carnival Sunshine can enjoy a tantalizing array of food and beverage choices, including Ji Ji Asian Kitchen with an extensive menu of Far East favorites, Havana Bar offering refreshing Cuban cocktails and live Latin music, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, and Guy's Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri.

The ship's family-friendly options include Seuss at Sea operated exclusively with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Hasbro, The Game Show with larger-than-life adaptations of the company's iconic games, and complimentary children's programs for kids in three age groups. Entertainment and activity choices are just as varied with high-tech Playlist Productions revues, the Punchliner Comedy Club offering adults-only and family-friendly performances, legendary deck parties and live musical performances throughout the ship.

Top-deck attractions include WaterWorks highlighted by Speedway Splash with its dual-racing slides, SportSquare with a suspended ropes course offering breathtaking views to the sea 150 feet below, a miniature golf course, and a three-deck-high Serenity adults-only retreat with oversized umbrellas, and comfortable chaise lounges and chairs, as well as a waterfall and its own pool.

In addition to the short cruise program from Charleston, Carnival Sunshine will operate an 11-day Carnival Journeys cruise round-trip from Charleston Dec. 3-14, 2019, calling at St. Thomas, Aruba, Bonaire, Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. In addition to visiting spectacular destinations, the longer-length Carnival Journeys cruises offer unique on-board experiences where guests can enjoy local cuisine, entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on topics such as photography, cooking and arts and crafts and a 1980s-themed "Throwback Sea Day" will be offered, as well.

Carnival Ecstasy, which currently sails from Charleston, will shift to Jacksonville, Fla., to operate year-round four- and five-day cruises beginning in May 2019. Carnival Elation, currently based in Jacksonville, will reposition to Port Canaveral, Fla., in May 2019, as well, to operate a new schedule of four- and five-day voyages, providing an exciting new vacation option from the Space Coast.

HAL Celebrates a Milestone for Newbuild Nieuw Statendam
In anticipation of the upcoming float-out of ms Nieuw Statendam, Holland America Line held the ship's coin ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 6, at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy. Following Italian shipbuilding tradition, Anne Marie Bartels, a member of Holland America Line's esteemed President's Club, served as the ship's Madrina and participated in the festivities.

During the coin ceremony, observed to bring good fortune, a Dutch guilder was welded to the forward mast of the ship by Bartels; Antonio Quintano, director of the Fincantieri Marghera Shipyard; and Keith Taylor, executive vice president, fleet operations for Holland America Group, followed by speeches and a blessing by the shipyard chaplain. Cyril Tatar, Holland America Group's vice president of newbuilding services, also was in attendance. The Dutch Guilder brings sentiment and history to the newbuild — it is from 1898, the year Holland America Line's first Statendam came into service.

"The coin ceremony is one of the most time-honored traditions in the building of a ship, and having Anne Marie, one of our most valued guests, serve as Madrina makes the celebration all the more special," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "Nieuw Statendam reflects the next generation in our brand evolution while maintaining the classic hallmarks we are known for. By placing an authentic Dutch guilder in the hull from the year our first ship named Statendam came into service is a meaningful way to build that bridge from our past to our future."

Bartels first sailed with Holland America Line on the s.s. Nieuw Amsterdam from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to New York, New York, when she was 21 years old. She has since been on 79 Holland America Line cruises, including 12 Grand Voyages. Bartels has more than 2,500 cruising days with the line, which gives her elite President's Club status for guests with more than 2,500 days on board.

During the festivities a drydock gate was opened briefly and water touched Nieuw Statendam's hull for the first time as is tradition during the coin ceremony. On December 21, 2017, the ship will be fully floated out and move to an outfitting pier.

Nieuw Statendam is the second Pinnacle Class ship for Holland America Line, joining ms Koningsdam, which launched in April 2016 from the same shipyard in Marghera. A third Pinnacle Class ship will set sail for the cruise line in 2021.

The 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. While much of the ship's design will be similar to Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten. The ship will carry 2,660 guests and feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-class design: grand light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Holland America Line's first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company's history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for "new" with the classic "Statendam," Holland America Line is celebrating the company's past, present and future.

Celebrity Announces 2019-20 Alaskan and Pacific Coastal Itineraries
Sailing from Vancouver through the awe-inspiring Inside Passage to the iconic Hubbard Glacier and beyond, Celebrity Cruises’ 2019 Alaska cruise season features 13 unforgettable destinations, with more than 40 extended port visits and countless experiences. With three ships in the region – Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, and Celebrity Millennium – the brand’s expertly thought-out 7-night itineraries and in-depth shore excursions will bring guests up close and personal with all of Alaska’s must-see wonders.

“With Celebrity Millennium emerging fresh from the Celebrity Revolution – the largest investment the brand has ever made to modernize our fleet – longer port visits, and one-of-kind cruisetour experiences, our 2019 Alaska season is shaping up to be the most impressive yet,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Add to that the addition of Celebrity Eclipse and we have what promises to be an unrivaled season of unexpected splendor in the region.”

Celebrity Eclipse
Embark on round-trip sailings from Vancouver through the stunning Inside Passage, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, and more. Guests can settle in with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket at The Lawn Club or on their spacious, private veranda, and watch the awe-inspiring scenery unfold before them. These are whale-breaching, breathtaking modern luxury sailings previously only offered on Celebrity Infinity.

A new eclipse is coming to the Pacific Coast in 2019 as well; Celebrity Eclipse is the perfect complement to this majestic stretch of coastline. Sail round-trip from Los Angeles, from Los Angeles to Vancouver, or from San Diego to Vancouver, on an array of seven- to nine-night Pacific Coastal sailings.

The 2019 Pacific Coastal season features 10 dazzling destinations, including Monterey, Santa Barbara, Catalina, and more. Overnight stays in San Francisco mean guests can explore all the city’s must-sees, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Painted Ladies, head into the wine country and sample the best local vintages, and enjoy the legendary restaurant scene and nightlife.

Celebrity Millennium
Modern luxury travelers looking to venture farther into the vast expanse of the region can enjoy alternating open-jaw sailings out of Vancouver, British Columbia, or Seward, Alaska, aboard Celebrity Millennium. F

resh from her multi-million-dollar revitalization, part of the Celebrity Revolution, Celebrity Millennium returns to Alaska. Completely redesigned staterooms will make unwinding after a day of adventure easier than ever, and dazzlingly renovated public venues will be the perfect complement to the exciting destinations guests will visit along this Seward-to-Vancouver (or vice versa) route.

Celebrity Solstice
Once again, Celebrity Solstice embarks from the dynamic city of Seattle for a roundtrip exploration that visits Victoria, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, and traverses the incredible Tracy Arm Fjord.

Under the starry Alaskan night sky, guests can enjoy the iconic gastronomic adventure A Taste of Film, which pairs films that evoke a specific cultural, culinary or destination experience, with cuisine that brings the scenes on the screen to life through guests’ taste buds.

Cruisetour Experiences
Guests looking for a more in-depth encounter with Alaska are invited to embark on a Celebrity Alaska Cruisetour; pair a modern luxury Alaska sailing with a guided land tour that takes them deep into the heart of Alaska, complete with luxury motor coaches, glass-domed trains, authentic lodging, and a knowledgeable, local tour director who’s with them every step of the way. With 11 Alaska Cruisetours to choose from, ranging from nine to 13 nights, Celebrity offers Alaskan adventures for every modern explorer.

Cruising with Norwegian: There's an App for That
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today the introduction of the next generation of its booked guest mobile application, the Cruise Norwegian app. Designed to be the ideal travel companion from time of booking to day of disembarkation, the new Cruise Norwegian app features a multitude of functions that help provide a stress-free vacation experience, helping guests make the most of their time on and off the ship as well as stay connected with their friends and family both on board and back home.

"Whether they're 60 days from their sail date or in the middle of their cruise, the Cruise Norwegian app brings seamless anytime-access to a myriad of onboard offerings, services and activities right into the palms of our guests' hands," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. "Once on board, the Cruise Norwegian app will allow guests to continue customizing their ideal cruise experience and view or manage their existing account information, allowing them to maximize their time and spend it on the things they enjoy the most."

With the Cruise Norwegian app, guests' dream cruise vacation is right at their fingertips with the capability to preview and book shore excursions, make dining and entertainment reservations, purchase onboard packages such as dining and beverage packages or special occasion packages before they cruise. Helping provide a stress-free embarkation day, the Cruise Norwegian app provides directions to the port and with mobile online check-in functionality guests can save time at the pier and have a paperless boarding process with mobile e-docs.

Once on board, guests can use the Cruise Norwegian app complimentary by connecting to the ship's wifi to stay up-to-date on what's happening on board. The app allows guests to make reservations for their favorite Broadway-style shows, snag a seat for a mouthwatering dinner at one of Norwegian's many Freestyle dining restaurants and book their next in-port adventure on a shore excursion. Friends and family can stay connected on board using the Cruise Norwegian app, which features unlimited onboard calls and messages for a one-time fee of $9.95. Groups can organize meet ups and share their favorite photos with everyone in their party with group messaging through the app. Those wishing to check-in with loved ones back home can make calls through the Cruise Norwegian app for a nominal fee of $0.79 per minute for outbound calls to nearly every country in the world.

Before disembarking the ship, guests using the app can track and review their onboard purchases, as well as view helpful disembarkation information including immigration and Easy Walk-off details. Those dreaming of their next cruise vacation can view information about Norwegian's Cruise Next program and review their Latitudes Rewards points and learn about onboard tier benefits.

The free Cruise Norwegian app is currently available for use on cruises aboard Norwegian Sky. The new app will be available on board Norwegian's newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, when she launches in summer 2018, and will be available fleet wide by yearend 2018.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.03 - 0.33%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.45 + 0.30%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.97 + 2.19%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.72 - 1.25%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
If you were departing on a transatlantic crossing from Pier 90 in New York City in the early 1950's, what shipping company would you most likely have been traveling on?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which was the first cruise/passenger ship to have fin stabilizers?

Answer - Cunard Line's MEDIA, built in 1948....but the stabilizers were added later
courtesy of Nick Williams, New York City


Cruise News - December 4, 2017

Princess Cruises to Name Next Ship Sky Princess
Princess Cruises announced today its fourth Royal-class ship will be named Sky Princess. Sister ship to Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess, Sky Princess is scheduled to debut in October 2019 on a series of Mediterranean voyages.

The 143,700 ton, 3,660-passenger vessel will feature an evolution of the successful design platform used for previous Royal-class ships. Sky Princess will include signature elements that have become synonymous with the brand's best-in-class guest experience, and bring together the best features found on her Royal-class sister ships – Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess. Highlights will include a soaring central Piazza-style atrium, Princess Live! entertainment venue, the relaxing adults-only Sanctuary, Camp Discovery youth and teen centers, and a wide variety of guest-favorite dining venues including the Salty Dog Grill, Alfredo's Pizzeria, Vines Wine Bar, Chef's Table Lumiere, and World Fresh Marketplace, with updated décor and design throughout the ship. Sky Princess will also feature the outdoor "Movies Under the Stars" theater, and 80 percent of all staterooms will have balconies. Finally, some exciting new innovations which will enhance the guest experience even further will be revealed in the coming months.

"Sky Princess continues a Princess Cruises legacy and honors one of our previous ships," said Jan Swartz, group president of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia. "When Princess merged with Sitmar Cruises in 1988, Sky Princess joined our fleet and sailed with us for 12 years. Now more than 30 years later, a new Sky Princess will join the fleet featuring our modern design platform and contemporary innovations offered to exceed our guests' expectations."

The inaugural Mediterranean deployment of Sky Princess features 10 cruise departures on eight unique itineraries. First up, is a seven-day Mediterranean & Adriatic cruise from Athens (Piraeus) to Barcelona departing on October 20, 2019. This voyage is combinable with a seven-day Mediterranean Barcelona to Rome (Civitavecchia) voyage for a 14-day Inaugural Western Mediterranean & Adriatic Medley from Athens to Rome.

In addition, Sky Princess will sail on a new seven-day Mediterranean roundtrip Rome voyage, combinable with a seven-day Mediterranean Barcelona to Rome for a 14-day Western Mediterranean Medley voyage calling in some of the most iconic ports in the Mediterranean Sea.

The culmination of Sky Princess' inaugural Mediterranean season will be a 14-day Spanish Passage from Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale, combinable with the seven-day Mediterranean and/or the seven-day Mediterranean roundtrip Rome voyages for an epic 21-day or 28-day Grand Adventure across the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

MSC Seaside Preparing to Sail from Miami
Today in the port of Trieste, MSC Cruises celebrated the coming into service of MSC Seaside, the new flagship for MSC Cruises, as she prepares to welcome the first guests and cross the Atlantic for her new home in Miami. MSC Seaside is the Company's 14th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet and the second MSC Cruises ship to come into service in 2017 under the Company's industry-unprecedented investment plan.

MSC Seaside is a brand new prototype, designed specifically for sun lovers and to bring MSC Cruises guests closer to the sea. The ship boasts generous outdoor public spaces so that guests can make the most of the sunshine and enjoy the outdoors, which are the highlights of a cruise vacation. This is now the fifth new prototype from MSC Cruises, and each and every new ship is designed to further enhance the cruise experience, bringing something unique and different every time.

Unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will be the new star of Miami, truly recognizable and with a distinctive design inspired by a Miami beach condo. But it is not just the design of this ship that sets her apart, but also the on board experience that distinguishes an MSC Cruises getaway. MSC Seaside will offer world-class entertainment, a host of new international dining concepts, outstanding facilities for families, the MSC Yacht Club, which has become MSC Cruises' signature luxury offering, and much more. These diverse features will differentiate the MSC Cruises brand and cruise experience in the North American market. Some of the main highlights of MSC Seaside include:

Unique design features - Inspired by the beach condos that have made Miami famous, MSC Seaside has a number of distinctive and innovative design features unlike any other ship. Two unique glass-floored catwalks and a 131 ft. high 'Bridge of Sighs' give guests a view of the ocean like never before. A waterfront boardwalk, the widest on any ship ever built, wraps around the ship, while panoramic elevators connect everything together.

A connected cruise experience - MSC for Me is the digital innovation program that uses the latest cutting-edge technology to connect travelers seamlessly with the experiences that matter to them, whether at sea or on land.

Variety of accommodation - Developed to provide the perfect accommodation for every type of guest, the ship offers flexible modular staterooms for groups of up to ten guests, exclusive aft corner suites with stunning sea views, terraced balcony staterooms with extended private terraces overlooking the waterfront boardwalk and luxurious suites with their own outdoor whirlpool bath.

Rich and varied entertainment - MSC Seaside doesn't just feature a full-sized bowling alley, XD cinema and the longest zip line at sea, but also the most interactive aqua park at sea with five water attractions: the first cruise ship Slideboarding™ attraction, 525 ft. long duelling body slides and two spray areas for kids. There is never a dull moment on board!

Extensive dining options - MSC Seaside will offer an extensive choice of indoor and outdoor dining venues with a tempting range of international restaurants. One of the highlights is Asian Market Kitchen from renowned Pan-Asian chef Roy Yamaguchi. Other highlights include a luxury seafood restaurant, Ocean Cay, an authentic American-style steakhouse, the Butcher's Cut, and a new French bistro, La Bohème.

Outstanding facilities and services for families and kids of all ages - MSC Seaside features brand new entertainment on top of everything families have already come to expect from MSC Cruises. As well as all-day kids' entertainment and six dedicated areas for babies and kids of all ages, guests can also take part in the brand new DOREMI Family Cinema and a new exciting buzzer game.

MSC Seaside will depart Trieste on December 1st, making a 21 day trans-Atlantic crossing, arriving in PortMiami, her new home on December 21st. That evening, the new MSC Cruises flagship will be officially named in a glittering ceremony. And, no MSC Cruises naming ceremony would be complete without the Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time-honored tradition since 2003.

MSC Seaside will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean offering 7-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries starting December 23, 2017.

Carnival Cruise Line's New 133,500-Ton Vista-Class Ship To Be Named Carnival Panorama
Carnival Panorama has been chosen as the name of Carnival Cruise Line's new 133,500-ton ship scheduled to debut in fall 2019.

Carnival Panorama is the third in the line's highly successful Vista-class series, which are all named to reflect the connection between the vessels and the sea and highlighted by stunning indoor/outdoor spaces that create a truly unique seagoing vacation experience.

Carnival Panorama will join its sister ships – Carnival Vista, which entered service in 2016, and Carnival Horizon, set to debut April 2, 2018. The three 3,954-passenger Vista-class ships are the largest ever constructed for Carnival Cruise Line.

Like its name implies, Carnival Panorama will include venues offering both indoor and al fresco experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Library Bar, and Bonsai Sushi, along with open-air attractions like the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare recreation area.

Also featured will be a vibrant Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations, the Family Harbor Lounge, a luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and Ocean Plaza, a spacious dining and entertainment venue with indoor and outdoor seating.

"Carnival Panorama is the perfect name to reflect the design inspiration of our Vista-class ships providing more venues and opportunities to connect with the sea," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Carnival Panorama will offer a wide variety of fun indoor and outdoor experiences along with exciting one-of-a-kind features that will provide our guests with a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories," she added.

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy, Carnival Panorama is scheduled to enter service in November 2019. Homeport and itinerary along with other new features of this ship will be announced at a later date.

Royal Caribbean Expands Sailings to Cuba in 2018
Royal Caribbean International will double its opportunities for a Cuba adventure next summer, with two ships sailing to the island nation – Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas – and two new destinations added to itineraries. The added sailings and breadth of experiences at the new ports of Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos on the southeast coast give adventure seekers even more ways to immerse themselves in the culture and history of the vibrant island. Cuba's historic cities of Havana, Santiago and Cienfuegos will be amongst the destinations on an array of 4- to 8-night Caribbean adventures on Empress of the Seas that open for sale today.

Salsa music, dominoes, Mojitos and the storied historic cities of Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba are easier to reach than ever before for guests on Royal Caribbean International. Beginning in summer 2018, the global cruise line will double its opportunities for a Cuba adventure, with two ships sailing to the island nation – Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas – and two new destinations added to itineraries.

Departing from Miami year-round, Empress cruise vacations will include 7-night Best of Cuba itineraries to Cienfuegos, Havana and Nassau, Bahamas; 5-night sailings visiting Key West, Florida and spending the night in Havana; and an immersive 8-night journey to Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, and Labadee, Haiti. Majesty of the Seas will continue the 4- and 5-night offerings to Havana that include day and overnight stays, departing from Tampa from April to October 2018, and Ft. Lauderdale from November 2018 to March 2019. All sailings to Cuba will offer shore excursions designed for guests to experience the destination and to comply with the people-to-people educational exchange activities requirement as set forth in the U.S. regulations.

"Cuba is such an important part of Caribbean culture, and we can't wait to call on Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos next year, showcasing even more of the country's scenic beauty, rich history and distinctive architecture," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Cruising remains the easiest way to visit Cuba, and with both Empress and Majesty sailing there in 2018 and 2019, we hope to make it that much easier for adventure seekers to experience the legendary island."

Cienfuegos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site established in 1819 with a wide array of visually-stunning attractions, including acclaimed Botanical Gardens with more than 2,000 plant species on display, impressive neoclassical architecture, a 950-seat opera house and the bustling Santa Isabel Boulevard.

Santiago de Cuba is a gateway to Cuba's revolutionary and religious history, with adventures such as the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Castillo del Morroto, the Sierra Maestra foothills, El Cobre – one of the most significant religious destinations in Cuba – and historic sites like Revolution Square.

Cuban culture is reflected throughout Empress of the Seas with cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal, salsa music and dancing in Boleros Latin lounge, and a range of onboard activities developed to bring the spirit of the island to life while at sea. Empress of the Seas spans 11 guest decks, encompasses 48,563 gross registered tons, carries 1,602 guests at double occupancy and features 795 staterooms.

Princess Celebrates 50th Year of Alaska Cruises with Largest Deployment Ever in 2019
Princess Cruises, the leader in Alaska for the 2019 season, is celebrating 50 years sailing to the Great Land with its largest deployment ever featuring the debut of Royal Princess. With 2019 cruises and cruisetours on sale December 14, 2017, all guests in North America, Asia and Australia can take advantage of a 50 percent reduced deposit for any 2019 Alaska voyage in celebration of our 50th anniversary sailing in the Great Land.

Seven Princess Cruises ships will sail to Alaska with the inaugural season of Royal Princess, bringing the largest Princess ship ever to sail the region. In addition, 76 percent of all voyages sail to Glacier Bay National Park. To enhance the cruise experience and to see more of Alaska, guests can also choose from more than 23 cruisetours while visiting Princess Wilderness Lodges and another must-see national park - Denali National Park.

"Our upcoming 2019 Alaska season marks our 50th year taking guests to this bucket-list destination, that for most is a life-changing experience offering breathtaking scenery and awe-inspiring moments," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "In 1969, Princess Italia was our first ship to bring 525 passengers to Alaska. In 2019, we will mark another milestone by bringing Royal Princess, our largest ship ever deployed to this region, with more than 3,500 guests."

While on board, guests will encounter a variety of ways to engage in authentic experiences through the award-winning North to Alaska program, featuring Cook My Catch, an exclusive culinary program allowing guests to return from select Princess fishing excursions to have the chef prepare their very own catch of the day. Also offered is the crowd-favorite Puppies in the Piazza, where real Alaska sled dog puppies are brought on board in Skagway for guests to interact with.

The 2019 program also features the first full season of an exclusive treehouse experience at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge built by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet's Treehouse Masters. In addition, lodge guests will hear first-hand tales from mountain climbers who have conquered Denali as they tell the exhilarating stories of their journey in the Hudson Theater.

Highlights of the 2019 May–September Alaska program include:

Alaska Cruises

• Voyage of the Glaciers – Princess' most popular sailings between Vancouver and Whittier features two glacier-viewing experiences on every voyage, with visits to the UNESCO-listed Glacier Bay National Park plus either Hubbard Glacier or College Fjord. These seven -day cruises are offered aboard Royal Princess and Golden Princess (departing Saturdays) and Coral Princess and Island Princess (departing Wednesdays). Every northbound Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary on Island Princess includes Icy Strait Point.

• Inside Passage –This awe-inspiring part of Alaska, known for its lush scenery and pristine fjords, will be featured on seven-, 10- and 12-day roundtrip voyages from Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles:
• Seven-Day Roundtrip Seattle – Ruby Princess departs on Saturdays and sails to Glacier Bay. Star Princess departs on Sundays and visits Tracy Arm Fjord. All Inside Passage voyages from Seattle offer More Ashore late-night calls in Juneau.
• 10-day Roundtrip San Francisco – Grand Princess
• 12-day Roundtrip Los Angeles – Three voyages aboard Royal Princess, Ruby Princess and Star Princess
• Roundtrip Cruises from Vancouver - Four seven-day Inside Passage sailings on Coral Princess, Island Princess and Golden Princess; Two four-day Alaska Samplers on Golden Princess and one five-day Alaska Sampler on Island Princess.

Alaska Cruisetours

In 2019, Princess will offer guests more than 23 cruisetours to experience more of the Great Land. Combine a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise with three to eight nights on land with stays at Princess Wilderness Lodges, exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service, plus visits to the top two attractions in Alaska – Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park. Guests also have the option to purchase a pre-paid meal package for the land portion.

Four categories of cruisetour options include:

• Denali Explorer – As Princess' most popular and best value cruisetour, these itineraries feature multiple nights at the line's Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and/or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. Most offer Princess' exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service between the ship in Whittier and the Denali area all in one day, plus the opportunity to explore Fairbanks and/or Anchorage.

• On Your Own – An affordable option for independent-minded travelers, these itineraries offer a flexible way to see the heart of Alaska. Tours follow similar routes as Denali Explorer options, but do not include any pre-planned excursions, giving travelers the opportunity to customize their own experience.

• Off the Beaten Path – These itineraries are designed to take travelers beyond Denali to sought-after, remote regions of the state such as the Kenai Peninsula and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

• Connoisseur – The line's highest level of service, these tours provide a truly immersive experience. With a professional tour director, most meals included and enhanced sightseeing; guests experience the best of the Great Land.

Heart of the Rockies Plus Rail – This 14-night cruisetour originates in Calgary and includes daylight Silverleaf rail service on the Rocky Mountaineer. The fully escorted land tour combines with a seven-day northbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise on Royal Princess and Golden Princess and includes most breakfasts and dinners. Spectacular overnight accommodations are offered at Fairmont Calgary Palliser Hotel, Banff, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Four Seasons Vancouver.

MSC Meraviglia To Offer Three Itineraries From New York Upon Its Arrival In North America In Fall 2019
MSC Cruises announced today that MSC Meraviglia, the sophisticated mega smart ship launched in June 2017, will kick off its inaugural season in North America making its maiden call in New York on Oct. 7, 2019 and offering three sailings departing from New York.

Bringing the ship's on board experience to a new embarkation port, MSC Meraviglia will sail two 10-night round trip itineraries from New York, as well as a third 13-night itinerary through the Caribbean, ending in Miami. In addition, prior to arriving in New York, MSC Meraviglia will sail a 17-night transatlantic cruise from Kiel, Germany with ports of call in destinations such as Denmark, the United Kingdom, Iceland and Canada.

"New York has been a market that MSC Cruises has been exploring for a number of years," said Rick Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA. "We are thrilled that for the first time in MSC Cruises history we are now able to offer sailings from this important region and meet the expectations of both our travel agent partners and guests."

Meaning wonder, MSC Meraviglia boasts incredible detailed design that lives up to her name. The 5,714 (4,488 double occupancy) passenger ship offers a variety of unique features that have made the ship one of the hottest destinations at sea. Highlights of the innovative ship include: world-class entertainment with two exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows created just for MSC Meraviglia; a Mediterranean-style promenade, with the longest LED dome at sea, at 262 ft., displaying a variety of digital skies 24 hours a day; a wide range of culinary offerings, including an expanded partnership with global Italian food expert Eataly as well as a partnership with world-renowned pastry chef, Jean Philippe Maury; and an enhanced MSC Yacht Club, which has become MSC Cruises' signature luxury offering. In addition, the ship caters to families, with modular connected staterooms that can accommodate up to 10 people, multiple LEGO-designed play areas for all ages, and a polar themed aqua park, featuring four water slides.

"Bringing MSC Meraviglia to New York is the perfect introduction for the ship to the U.S., providing travelers an option to check out new itineraries with MSC Cruises and, for those in the region, a convenient way to discover MSC Meraviglia's style, sophistication and stellar on board features," said Roberto Fusaro, President of MSC Cruises USA. "With MSC Meraviglia coming to New York, and eventually to Miami, we are bringing the three most innovative and modern classes of MSC Cruises ships to the U.S., offering a wider range of memorable experiences for guests."

MSC Meraviglia sailings for the fall and winter 2019/2020 season

Guests can officially book sailings for MSC Meraviglia's inaugural season in North America beginning January 2, 2018.

10-Night Sailings Departing from New York

• October 8, 2019: The first of the two 10-night sailings from New York will tour stunning Canadian destinations during the region's most colorful time of year. Cruisers can explore the fall hues in Sydney, Nova Scotia; Corner Brook, Newfoundland; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and an overnight stay in Quebec City, Quebec, before returning to New York.*

• October 18, 2019: The second 10-night sailing for MSC Meraviglia departing from New York will explore Canada as well as the New England region, with ports of call in Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Sydney, Nova Scotia; Portland, Maine; and Boston, Massachusetts.

13-Night Sailing Departing from New York to Miami

• October 28, 2019: MSC Meraviglia's final sailing from New York will journey to Miami through the Caribbean on a 13-night sailing. Guests can experience picturesque Caribbean destinations like Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Fort de France, Martinique; Bridgetown, Barbados; Saint George, Grenada; Willemstad, Curaçao; and Oranjestad, Aruba, before arriving in Miami.

7-Night Sailings Departing from Miami to the Caribbean

Upon departing New York, MSC Meraviglia will homeport in Miami, sailing alongside MSC Seaside and MSC Divina. The three ships based at PortMiami will offer cruise guests looking to sail the Caribbean a wider range of options in terms of ships and itineraries. MSC Meraviglia, in particular, will offer a full season of 7-night cruises, departing on Sundays and sailing to two itineraries in the western Caribbean. The first itinerary will include Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and the Bahamas, and the second itinerary will stop in Mexico, Honduras, Belize and the Bahamas.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.25 + 1.65%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.50 - 0.33%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.92 - 4.69%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.61 - 0.36%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which was the first cruise/passenger ship to have fin stabilizers?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the first ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line (then called Norwegian Caribbean)?

Answer - Cunard Line's MEDIA, built in 1948....but the stabilizers were added later
courtesy of Nick Williams, New York City


Cruise News - November 27, 2017

Celebrity Introduces Celebrity Flora
Celebrity Cruises unveils another stunning revolution in ship design: Celebrity Flora is an elevated and inspired approach to marine exploration, meticulously designed expressly for the awe-inspiring Galapagos Islands.

One of the most energy-efficient ships of its size in the diverse archipelago , the 100-guest Celebrity Flora will offer seamless sea-to-shore transportation, and includes anchorless technology that maintains the ship’s position while protecting the sensitive sea floor. Innovative outward-facing design gives guests 360-degree views of the islands, while personal suite attendants, new dining venues, an open-air stargazing platform, and expert-lead ecological seminars will round out the modern luxury vacation experience.

“Celebrity Flora marks another example of our revolutionary ship design by allowing the destination and its environment to influence every decision we’ve made,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “From the luxurious all-suite accommodations to industry-first, eco-friendly innovations, we created a ship that brings a new level of luxury, sustainability and natural exploration to the region. Guests will feel as though they’re boarding a high-end yacht for a week of unparalleled adventures, and they are!”

“We are very pleased with the announcement of Celebrity Cruises’ decision to build a cruise vessel with cutting-edge technology, designed specifically to operate around our wonderful islands,” said Enrique Ponce de León, Ecuador's Minister of Tourism. “Celebrity Flora will undoubtedly mark a very important milestone in the tourism development of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, offering high quality and sustainable tourism.”

Designed with the Destination in Mind:
The natural beauty of the islands, the diversity and uniqueness of the species that it harbors earned this archipelago the reputation of being a living laboratory of evolutionary processes still in progress. The region made room for the development of a large number of flora and fauna that do not exist anywhere else in the world, making the Galapagos a very unique place of global importance for the common heritage of humanity.

Featuring Celebrity’s signature outward-facing design, Celebrity Flora virtually erases boundaries and brings this typically remote destination closer to guests. Educational, research-based programming gives travelers an opportunity to continue learning about the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands.

The Marina is the primary point of access to the ship and can accommodate up to three Zodiacs at once, reducing transport time to and from land and allowing more time for guests to explore the practically untouched islands. While onboard guests will unwind in the Sunset Lounge, find solace in The Vista, an open-air hideaway with 360-degree views, cocoon-style loungers and private cabanas, and enjoy the breathtaking surrounds in the floor-to-ceiling glass-wrapped Observatory.

Darwin’s Cove and the Naturalist Center provide a bounty of information on the destination, wildlife and environmental efforts, while the Discovery Lounge will be home to Naturalist presentations and excursion information. Guests can participate in a guided astronomy tour or enjoy star-lit skies on their own from the Stargazing Platform.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily in the Seaside Restaurant. The Ocean Grill offers a casual dining space, panoramic views and Dinner Under the Stars, or guests can choose from an indulgent in-room dining experience.

Sophisticated Accommodations, Attentive Service:
Celebrity Flora transports travelers in all-suite accommodations featuring oversized bathrooms perfect for post-adventure refreshing. These modern retreats bring the outside in through Celebrity’s signature outward-facing layouts and heralded Infinite Verandas, and come complete with sustainable, natural, regionally inspired materials. Personal suite attendants cater to guests’ every need.

Celebrity Flora’s two Penthouse Suites are the largest in the Galapagos with separate indoor and outdoor living areas, customizable lighting and shades, and a telescope for stargazing or sea lion-peeping. Guests can also find relaxation in Royal Suites, Ultimate Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda, Premium Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda and Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda.

Environmental Stewardship and Innovation:
Celebrity Flora is one of the most energy-efficient ships in its class, with a 15 percent reduction of fuel consumption and equivalently fewer air emissions , thanks to the introduction of an advanced propulsion system, hull configuration and specially designed diesel engines. Two more firsts in the Galapagos, Celebrity Flora’s dynamic positioning system allows the ship to stay in position without physically anchoring and damaging the sea floor, with zero speed stabilizers promising smooth sailing throughout.

Celebrity will reduce the need for plastics onboard by introducing in-room water filtration stations and by converting sea water and air conditioning condensation into pure, fresh water. Any materials that can be recycled, reused or donated will be as part of a strict waste management system.

"I think this is a clear example of an intelligent investment, not only because the boat design was thought with the characteristics of the Galapagos, but because it is based on the best technology available to protect a Natural Heritage of Humanity,” said Walter Bustos, Director of Galapagos National Park. “This proposal is a mix of experiences and education so that each visitor returns to their country with a different mindset, more committed to the conservation of the environment, which is one of the objectives of the Galapagos National Park "

Experience the Evolution of Travel in the Galapagos:
Celebrity Flora will sail from Baltra year-round, making her first sailing on May 26, 2019

MSC Cruises and Fincantieiri Announce Agreement for Two New Seaside EVO Ships
Today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, MSC Cruises officially took delivery of its new flagship MSC Seaside. The delivery ceremony took place in the presence of Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic, Graziano Delrio, Italy’s Minister of Infrastructures and Transports as well as other authorities and dignitaries.

At the occasion of the delivery ceremony of MSC Seaside, the Company’ second newly-built to come into service in 2017, MSC Cruises and Fincantieri also signed firm orders for the construction of two Seaside EVO ships, a further evolution of the Seaside Class prototype, for a total investment of $2.13 billion.

“MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “MSC Seaside coming into service marks another key milestone in the history and future of our Company, but she also embodies a pivotal moment for the industry. In fact, she is the first ship of the fifth new prototype that we bring into service and introduces a wholly-innovative product that sets a new standard for the industry to follow. The Seaside Class of ships is designed to bring guests closer to the sea and to operate in sunny waters, while continuing to push the boundaries of maritime and guest-centric technology.”

Mr Vago added: “As we are nearing the end of 2017, we can look back on a year when we enjoyed unprecedented capacity growth. With two of the more innovative new ships in the industry having come into service in the past six months and now with the addition of two Seaside EVO ships to our investment plan, we are now even better positioned to further extend our global footprint. We are expecting the delivery of at least one new ship each year through 2026, with six to have come into service between 2017 and 2020. ”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “We are proud to have accomplished such an important project: a ship, for a new customer, the largest one ever built in Italy. This demonstrates not only our ability to satisfy the needs of the shipowners, but also the extraordinary operational level which Fincantieri has achieved. In fact, I would like to highlight that “Seaview”, the sister ship of “Seaside”, will be delivered in just 6 months in this same shipyard”. Bono added: “we believe we have built a highly innovative ship with MSC. She marks a further technological quality leap. Such a milestone has allowed us to gain the customer’s loyalty with another order for two new ships, which will [again] represent a real evolution.”

Following the new agreement between MSC Cruises and Fincantieri, the initial slot reservation agreement to build a third Seaside Class ship to be delivered in 2021 has been replaced to instead build the first of two Seaside EVO ships. The second ship is set to come into service in 2023.

Key specs for the new Seaside EVO are as follows:
• Length/beam: 1,112 ft/ 135 ft
• Gross tonnage: 169,380 GRT
• LSA: 7,280

In addition to offering even more space, Seaside EVO ships will have greater dimensions, more cabins, an even larger Yacht Club – with an additional deck and larger cabins -- and will be hosting up to 5,646 passengers. At the same time, just like the Seaside Class, the Seaside EVO ships will be equipped with the latest advanced environmental technology, including: a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system, an advanced active emissions control technology system, that significantly reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) into harmless nitrogen (N2) and water; exhaust gas cleaning (EGC) technology to meet the strictest exhaust regulations in port and in operating areas; state-of-the-art waste management and recycling systems; advanced water treatment systems – going above and beyond regulatory standards and meeting the highest industry standards; and, an advanced energy and heat recovery system. Across the ships, there will be the latest generation of energy-saving devices and all areas will feature LED lighting. The ships will be ultra-hydrodynamic and thanks to optimized hull lines, propellers and rudders, combined with the latest anti-fouling paint, wave resistance will be further reduced, and greater fuel-efficiency will be achieved.

With the addition of these new ships, the Company’s already industry-unprecedented investment plan will now account for 12 new ships to be built by 2026, for an overall investment of EUR 10.5 billion

During today’s delivery ceremony, which pays tribute to centuries-old maritime tradition, Roberto Olivari, Fincantieri’s shipyard director, handed over to Pier Paolo Scala, Master of MSC Seaside, an ampoule holding the first water that touched the hull when the ship was floated out earlier this year. After the closing of the delivery ceremony, MSC Seaside initially set sail for Trieste. From there, she will continue to Miami for her naming ceremony on 21 December.

MSC Seaside is the first ship in the Seaside Class and a completely new prototype pushing the boundaries of innovative ship building and design. At 153,516 GRT and with a guest capacity of 5,119, she is the second newly-built next-generation mega cruise ship in the MSC Cruises fleet and the first one to be delivered by Fincantieri.

MSC Seaside will be homeporting in Miami and will begin her first sailing in the Caribbean where she will call at various ports in the East and West Caribbean.

Fresh on the heels of MSC Seaside, her sister ship MSC Seaview will come into service in June 2018, starting her summer season in the Mediterranean. Today at the delivery ceremony, Mr Vago also announced that MSC Seaview will be christened in Civitavecchia, Italy, on June 2, 2018.

Norwegian Cruise Line Names Godfather For Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Elvis Duran, nationally syndicated radio and digital personality and on-air host of iHeartMedia's top rated, "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" will serve as Godfather of its newest ship, Norwegian Bliss. As Godfather, Elvis will have an honorary role in the official ship christening ceremony on May 30, 2018 at Pier 66 in Seattle. Custom built for the ultimate cruising experience, Norwegian Bliss will boast an array of exhilarating activities, delectable dining options and show stopping performances. The line's sixteenth ship will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises during her inaugural summer season and, beginning in November 2018, Norwegian Bliss will trade in Alaska's breathtaking scenery for stunning Caribbean sunsets as she sails seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from Port Miami.

In the maritime world, it is a longstanding tradition to name a Godparent of a new vessel and the honor is given to an individual who will officially christen a new ship, and remain in their role for the life of the ship. Norwegian Cruise Line bestowed the Godfather role upon Elvis Duran as he mirrors the fun, exciting and original personality that Norwegian Bliss so wholly embodies. While Norwegian Bliss is docked in Seattle on May 30, 2018, Elvis will join Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.'s President and CEO Frank Del Rio and Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Andy Stuart in the tradition of breaking a bottle of champagne against the ship's hull and officially christening the vessel during an exciting ceremony. Elvis joins the family of high profile Godmothers and Godfathers for the brand including Pitbull, Kim Cattrall, Reba McEntire, Rosie O'Donnell, Chinese pop star Wang Leehom and the Radio City Rockettes, as he steps into this special new role.

"Elvis Duran epitomizes the high-energy, and liveliness that the ship represents and we're very excited to have him join the family as Godfather to Norwegian Bliss," said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line's president and chief executive officer. "Norwegian Cruise Line's mission is first and foremost to provide guests with a one-of-a-kind unforgettable vacation and continue to develop and offer guests the latest innovative experiences. As one of the most beloved radio hosts in history, Elvis' commitment to entertainment and bringing laughter and joy to his listeners each day is exactly why we believe he is the perfect fit to represent Norwegian Bliss."

Elvis Duran has become a household name in the industry since he began hosting the daily morning radio show on New York's Z100 in 1996. Over the years, Duran has continuously shown his devotion to his listeners by seeking new ideas, fun games and exciting interviews with celebrities. His radio career has spanned 30 years and today, the award-winning "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" on WHTZ, New York's Z100, is syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks on nearly 80 radio stations across the country and available digitally on iHeartRadio, reaching more than ten million monthly listeners. The show is the most listened to Top 40 morning show in the U.S. that consistently ranks #1 across multiple demographics and top markets. Broadcasting live from New York's Z100, Duran and his on-air crew entertain listeners with up-to-the-minute entertainment and pop culture news, celebrity guests, hit songs, and regular features such as the gossipy "Entertainment Report," the news-worthy "Headlines," and the ever-popular prank "Phone Taps."

"I am honored to be named Godfather for Norwegian Bliss," said Elvis Duran. "This incredible ship and all the innovative activities onboard, from the race track to Broadway shows, perfectly reflect the energy and excitement of our morning show and we are looking forward to bringing our loyal listeners along for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can't wait until she arrives next May!"

Carnival Cruise Line Revamping Specialty Dining and Breakfast Menus, Reintroducing Baked Alaska Across the Fleet
As part of its ongoing effort to keep its culinary offerings fresh and exciting for its guests, Carnival Cruise Line is revamping the menus for several of its specialty dining venues and reintroducing Baked Alaska across the fleet.

The menus for Carnival's steakhouses, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurants, and delis, as well as main dining room breakfast offerings, have undergone a transformation with a variety of tantalizing new items reflecting lighter ingredients, updated preparation techniques and exquisite presentation to keep pace with changing palates.

Baked Alaska – a classic dessert made of cake and ice cream topped with merengue – is also being reintroduced after several years with uniformed waiters performing the time-honored tradition of parading the tasty confection throughout the dining room prior to service.

The updated steakhouse menus, currently available on three ships, offer mouth-watering appetizers such as Iced and Smoked Fresh Oysters with Apple Mignonette; Tuna Tartare with Yuzu Sphere and Avocado "Leche de Tiger"; Risotto with Crab, Mushroom and Brown Butter, and Heritage Berkshire Pork Belly with Apple Walnut Preserve. These complement a selection of USDA prime steaks, including new items such as an A-5 Wagyu steak and lighter fare like Farmhouse Chicken with Roasted Honey Vinegar and Dover Sole Pan-Seared with Lemon Potato-Mousseline and Shallot Emulsion. Four additional ships are expected to get the new menus by early next year.

The new menu for Cucina del Capitano reflects the diversity of Italy's culinary regions, with dishes like Branzino Al Forno in Crosta Dorata with tomatoes, stewed chickpeas, salmoriglio and mushroom bark, along with Risotto Milanese with saffron and Parmesan cheese, Grande Braciola Di Maiale – a tomahawk pork chop with fennel pollen, shallots and crispy sage – and Costina Di Manzo Con Porcini with salsa verde and young tomato bruschetta. House-made burrata – an Italian favorite made with mozzarella and cream and distinguished by its rich buttery flavor – has been added to menus as well, with classic Italian favorites like chicken Parmesan, meatballs and fried calamari also available. The new Cucina del Capitano menus are currently on three ships – Carnival Magic, Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze – with Carnival Sunshine expected to updated next month.

Breakfast menus in the main dining rooms are just as varied with delicious options such as avocado toast; a Breakfast Bowl featuring kale, spinach, faro wheat berries, sesame seeds, feta cheese, raspberries and a sunny side up egg; and fresh-baked Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Frittata. There's also a Broken Egg Sandwich served panini-style with fried eggs, bacon, cheddar, greens and hash browns; and a "Breakfast Board" with a soft boiled egg, house-made yogurt, seasonal jam, baby lettuce salad, pastrami, and grilled sour dough bread. For those on the go, a new "breakfast express" is available on port days featuring orange juice, eggs, hickory-smoked bacon or sausage and pastries, all "in and out" within 25 minutes. An assortment of traditional breakfast favorites such as French toast, pancakes and cereals is also offered. Thus far, 12 ships feature the popular new breakfast items with the balance of the fleet expected to receive the new menus by mid-2018.

The line's delis have undergone a dramatic change, as well, with an updated design and host of new choices, including seven sandwiches such as meatball, buffalo chicken, and The Cubano with roasted pork, ham, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese, along with Southwest chicken, falafel and turkey wraps. Diners can enjoy a sweet finish to their meal with a Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie baked fresh every morning.

Carnival is also re-branding its 24-hour pizzerias to Pizzeria del Capitano offering five kinds of hand-tossed, thin-crusted pies – from Margherita and pepperoni to artisan-style quattro formaggio, mushroom, and prosciutto. The re-branded delis and pizzerias will be incorporated into additional vessels during scheduled dry docks.

With the popularity of Seafood Shack which debuted on Carnival Vista last year and offering lobster rolls, fried clams, chowder and other New England-inspired fare, the concept has been expanded to nine additional ships.

Dream Cruises’ World Dream Christened in Hong Kong
Genting Hong Kong celebrated the arrival of Dream Cruises’ second new ship, World Dream, on 17 November 2017 at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal with a special christening ceremony to impart good fortune and luck to the vessel.

Puan Sri Cecilia Lim, World Dream’s official Godmother and the wife of Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genting Hong Kong, activated the traditional breaking of the champagne on the hull of the new ship in the presence of more than 1,000 guests including government dignitaries, business and trade partners and media.

World Dream is the sistership to Genting Dream, which debuted in November 2016, and will double the capacity for Dream Cruises, Asia’s luxury cruise line. With World Dream based in Hong Kong, Genting Dream will now cruise from Singapore.

“We are truly excited to christen World Dream in Hong Kong – and to be the first-ever cruise ship to have this honour in a city that holds such significance to Genting Hong Kong and Dream Cruises. As the pioneer of the Asian cruise industry 24 years ago, Genting Hong Kong developed the Asian cruise industry with the founding of Star Cruises, with its headquarters in Hong Kong,” said Tan Sri Limd.

“Now, with Genting Dreams’ arrival in the Pearl River Delta a year ago, she has delivered over 300,000 international passenger trips from across the region. Hundreds of jobs have been created and tourism receipts in hotels, airlines and destination management industries for the Pearl River Delta have grown significantly.”

Tan Sri Lim also expressed the importance of Hong Kong to both Genting Hong Kong and the overall cruise industry in the Asia Pacific and reiterated the company’s commitment to showcase the city and grow the Pearl River Delta region into a world-class, cruise destination hub.

Carnival Raises Price of Beverage Package
Carnival Cruise Line has increased the cost of its Cheers! beverage package effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The pre-cruise purchase cost will go from $49.95 per person, per day to $51.95, a 4% increase.

On the ship, the package will sell for $56.95, up from $54.95. The prices do not include the 15% gratuity.

The package includes spirits, beer, and wine and champagne by the glass with a menu price of $50 and below, plus specialty coffees, sodas, juices, nonalcoholic cocktails, milkshakes, energy drinks and bottled water.

List of beverages and services included in Carnival Cruise Line’s CHEERS! program:

• All spirits, including cocktails, cognacs, whiskies and other spirits, as well as beer and wine (and Champagne) by the glass, with a $50 USD or lower menu price per serving

• Zero-Proof frozen cocktails (including smoothies), sodas (including specialty sodas) and juices

• Specialty coffees and hot tea served in the main dining rooms, specialty restaurants and coffee bars

• RockStar energy drinks, Powerade, Vitamin Water, Coconut Water and Honest Tea

• 500ml bottled water and other non-alcoholic bottled beverages served in bars and lounges

• Large format (1 liter and 1.5-liter) bottles of water in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants

• 25 percent discount off the menu price for any spirit, cocktail or wine by the glass, costing above $50 USD per serving

• 25 percent discount off the menu price for wine and champagne by the bottle and larger format water bottles purchased outside the main dining rooms or specialty restaurants

• 25 percent discount off beverage seminars and classes

CHEERS! is not offered on two day cruises, charters, and cruises from Australia.

MSC Seaside to Sail With Beer-Themed Improv, 7 Broadway-Style Shows
MSC Cruises has announced that its upcoming new cruise ship, the MSC Seaside, will sail with a beer-themed improv comedy concept and a lineup of seven new Broadway-style shows.

The North American comedy troupe BeerProv, known for creating unscripted sketches based on audience suggestions, will perform six nights a week in the Metropolitan Theatre, marking the first improv comedy show in the MSC Cruises fleet. This new 45-minute concept includes four comedians and a high level of audience participation.

MSC Cruises has also worked to develop seven original Broadway-style theater shows for the 934-seat Metropolitan Theatre. Shows include something for movie fans, with My Life in Music presenting the most famous movie soundtracks performed live onstage, as well as something for vintage musical fans, with The Dream. Another show, The Wizard, will incorporate illusions, and Peter Punk aims to provide a new take on the famous story of Peter Pan.

Six original concerts, in varieties ranging from opera, to Latin, to piano solos, are also performed in the Metropolitan Theatre, with the help of the onboard pianist, violinist, soprano and tenor, for fans of live music.

Also for the first time in MSC Cruises’ fleet, guests of MSC Seaside will be able to choose from up to four sittings of a Broadway-style show each evening starting from 6:00 p.m. and running until late, allowing greater flexibility, MSC Cruises said. The shows will include 14 variety artists, 15 dancers, and five singers, offering an assortment of different performances.

For families, the new ship will have two special LEGO rooms, unique to MSC Seaside, that will aim to allow children to develop their creativity with tens of thousands of the world’s most famous bricks, all while making new friends in their age group. The Mini Club - LEGO Sailor room is themed to mirror the ship’s Caribbean environment, with sailors made entirely out of LEGO, for kids aged three to six. The Junior Club - LEGO Pirates is for kids aged seven to 11, filled with the latest LEGO toys, video games and kits, this time with pirates made out of LEGO.

Babysitting services will be available for ages three to 11. Parents can leave kids from 11pm until 2am. In addition, during port days, parents can drop their kids off for free from 9 am until 11 pm. Each kids’ club will be equipped 3D printing, VR Gaming and 3D product scanning.

The Metropolitan Theatre will also host screenings of popular family movies up to twice per cruise. Also on every port day, MSC Cruises will also open one of the kids’ clubs for both kids and their parents.

Other new features include an interactive game show, Buzzer the Game, which will offer kids and teens a chance to test their music, pop culture and sports knowledge in a speedy team game taking place in the disco.

An entertainment area will offer guests the chance to try out an F1 racing simulator, XD cinema, two full-sized bowling lanes and a lineup of arcade games. The ship will also have two zip lines.

New shows in the ship’s atrium will also offer surprise performances, including game shows, flash mobs, karaoke and more.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.16 + 0.05%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.50 + 1.25%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.92 - 4.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.61 + 1.68%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which was the first cruise/passenger ship to have fin stabilizers?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which shipping company had a fleet of passenger ships with hulls painted lavender?

Answer - The Union-Castle Line had the lavender hulled ships. Going back to the 1850's it was the merger of two seperate companies - the Union Line and the Castle Line. They began as mail ship lines running between Southhampton and South Africa, later becoming a passenger line, and basically, going out of business in 1977.
courtesy of Frank Cicio


Cruise News - November 20, 2017

MSC Cruises Enriches Entertainment Options On Board MSC Seaside
MSC Cruises today announced more details of the new entertainment options aboard its latest flagship, MSC Seaside. MSC Cruises is committed to providing world-class entertainment on its ships to constantly surprise and delight guests. MSC Seaside will offer around-the-clock entertainment in a range of venues ensuring there is never a dull moment.

Late-Night Fun and Laughter with BeerProv, New Improvised Comedy Concept
For the first time on the MSC Cruises fleet, guests will be able to enjoy improvised comedy at sea. The well-known North American comedy troupe BeerProv, famed for instantly creating hilarious, unscripted sketches based on audience suggestions, will perform six nights a week in the Metropolitan Theatre, offering guests an entirely unique and unexpected show every performance. This new 45-minute concept features four comedians and includes a high level of audience participation.

Seven Brand New Broadway-Style Shows
MSC Cruises places a large emphasis on delivering quality entertainment, and has been recognized multiple times for its top-notch productions. The cruise line received the award for Best Production Shows in Porthole Cruise Magazine's Editor in Chief Awards for 2017 and earned a spot under Best Cruise Ships for Entertainment in USA Today's 10 Best Reader's Choice 2016 Awards, as well as the Cruisers' Choice in the Cruise Critic 2016 Awards.

MSC Cruises has worked to develop seven original Broadway-style theater shows for the 934-seat Metropolitan Theatre. Shows include something for movie fans, with My Life in Music presenting the most famous movie soundtracks performed live onstage, as well as something for vintage musical fans, with The Dream. Another eye-catching show, The Wizard, will feature breathtaking illusions, and Peter Punk provides a fresh new take on the famous story of Peter Pan.

Six original concerts, in varieties ranging from opera, to Latin, to piano solos, are also performed in the Metropolitan Theatre, with the help of the onboard pianist, violinist, soprano and tenor, for fans of live music.

More Flexible Theater Show Sittings
Also for the first time in MSC Cruises' fleet, guests of MSC Seaside will be able to choose from up to four sittings of a Broadway-style show each evening starting from 6:00 p.m. and running until late, allowing greater flexibility to fit a fantastic show around even the busiest schedule. The shows will feature 14 variety artists, 15 dancers, and five singers, offering an assortment of different performances.

Activities Kids Will Love
As a family-owned company, MSC Cruises is dedicated to creating unique moments for families, and each and every new ship offers an even greater family offering. Two special LEGO rooms, unique to MSC Seaside, will allow children to develop their creativity with tens of thousands of the world's most famous bricks, all while making new friends in their age group. The Mini Club - LEGO Sailor room is themed to mirror the ship's Caribbean environment, with sailors made entirely out of LEGO, for kids aged three to six. The Junior Club - LEGO Pirates is for kids aged seven to eleven, filled with the latest LEGO toys, video games and kits, this time with pirates made out of LEGO.

Parents can enjoy a night to themselves, by dropping their kids off at late night group babysitting services, available for ages 3 to 11. Parents can leave kids from 11pm until 2am to enjoy everything the ship has to offer by night. In addition, during port days, parents can drop their kids off for free from 9 am until 11 pm, for a full, stress free day. Each kids' club will be equipped with the latest, cutting-edge equipment, including 3D printing, VR Gaming and 3D product scanning.

To create more opportunities for together-time for the whole family, the Metropolitan Theatre will host screenings of popular family movies up to twice per cruise. Also on every port day, MSC Cruises will also open one of the kids' clubs for both kids and their parents, so that the "big kids" can join in on the fun!

Other new features include an interactive game show, Buzzer the Game, which will offer kids and teens a chance to test their music, pop culture and sports knowledge in a speedy team game taking place in the disco.

Interactive Entertainment
A thrilling entertainment area offers guests high-tech thrills, including an authentic F1 racing simulator, immersive XD cinema, two full-sized bowling lanes and a whole host of arcade games. Two of the longest zips line at sea will also take guests on a high-speed thrill ride, finishing at the back of the ship. Guests can either take the plunge on their own or race a friend side-by-side.

New shows in the ship's atrium will also offer surprise performances. Game shows, flash mobs, karaoke and more will make up the varied line-up in this uniquely designed space.

Carnival Cruise Line To Increase Capacity On Short Cruise Program From Galveston
Building upon its position as the leader in Gulf Coast cruising, Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will expand capacity on its short cruise offerings from Galveston beginning in 2019.

Carnival Dream will launch four- and five-day cruises to Mexico year-round from Galveston beginning in May 2019, becoming the newest and largest Carnival ship to operate a short cruise program from that port and providing Texans with an exciting and convenient new vacation option.

On this route, four-day long weekend cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays calling at Cozumel and Progreso or Costa Maya.

Each of these stunning Mexican destinations offer world-class beaches, excellent shopping and dining experiences, and opportunities to visit historical attractions and landmarks, including centuries-old Mayan ruins. A wide variety of "fun in the sun" shore excursion choices, from paddle-boarding and ziplining to ATV adventures and watersports like scuba diving and snorkeling, is also available.

"Galveston is one of our fastest-growing and most popular homeports and we're delighted to expand capacity on our short cruise program with Carnival Dream," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Not only is Carnival Dream our largest ship to operate short cruises it also offers guests some truly spectacular onboard features and facilities following her extensive multi-million-dollar makeover."

"We have a long-standing relationship with Carnival Cruise Line and we are thrilled that they have chosen to reposition Carnival Dream to Galveston," said Peter Simons, Interim Port Director. "Deploying their largest Dream-class ship to operate their short cruise program demonstrates Carnival's continued commitment to the Texas travel market. It's this type of confidence and commitment that has helped the Port of Galveston grow to become the fourth largest cruise port in North America. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Carnival."

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream will kick off its year-round schedule from Galveston beginning May 23, 2019, representing a 22 percent increase in capacity on this program.

Carnival Dream recently underwent an extensive makeover that added a number of exciting food and beverage options, including Guy's Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare and the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurant. These complement such attractions as a WaterWorks aqua park, luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and more.

Carnival Dream will join Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista, which repositions to Galveston in fall 2018, and together these three ships are expected to carry nearly 650,000 passengers annually from Galveston – more than any cruise line.

Carnival Cruise Line To Increase Capacity On Short Cruise Program From New Orleans
Building upon its position as the leader in Gulf Coast cruising, Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will expand capacity on its short cruise offerings from New Orleans beginning in 2019.

Carnival Valor will shift to New Orleans to begin year-round four- and five-day cruises from the Big Easy beginning May 2019. It will be the largest ship to offer a year-round short cruise schedule from that port.

On this route, four-day long weekend cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays calling at Cozumel and Progreso.

Each of these stunning Mexican destinations offer world-class beaches, excellent shopping and dining experiences, and opportunities to visit historical attractions and landmarks, including centuries-old Mayan ruins. A wide variety of "fun in the sun" shore excursion choices, from paddle-boarding and ziplining to ATV adventures and watersports like scuba diving and snorkeling, is also available.

"New Orleans is one of our most popular homeports and Carnival Valor is a wonderful short option that provides a wide array of exciting dining, beverage, entertainment and activity choices that our guests are sure to enjoy," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

"We are thrilled to welcome Carnival Valor to the year-round cruise offerings from our vibrant and historical city," said Brandy D. Christian, Port of New Orleans President and CEO. "We value our long-time partnership with Carnival Cruise Line and we look forward to working together to continue to provide new and varied itineraries and a top-notch experience for our guests."

The 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor will kick off its new year-round schedule of four- and five-day cruises from New Orleans May 16, 2019, replacing Carnival Triumph and representing a nearly 10 percent increase in capacity on the line's short cruise program from that port. Carnival Triumph will be deployed to another homeport to be announced at a later date. Also in May 2019, Carnival Glory will take over the New Orleans-based year-round seven-day schedule of Carnival Dream. Together, Carnival Valor and Carnival Glory are expected to carry nearly 400,000 passengers from New Orleans.

Carnival Valor last year underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that added such popular highlights as Guy's Burger Joint, developed in tandem with celebrity chef Guy Fieri, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, SkyBox sports bar, Alchemy Bar and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar. Other features on Carnival Valor include an adults-only Serenity Deck, a 214-foot-long water slide and Scarlett's, a classic American steakhouse.

Carnival Cruise Line Transforming Onboard Shopping Experience
As part of an ongoing effort to provide its guests with the widest variety of choices at sea, Carnival Cruise Line is totally transforming its shipboard shopping experience with renovated spaces and popular items from some of the world's best-known retailers, including Victoria's Secret, Swarovski, Pandora, TAG and others.

According to Carnival's Vice President of Retail William Butler, the upgraded retail venues and expanded offerings are the result of months of intensive research and data gathering to customize its onboard shopping options to match the preferences of Carnival guests.

"We're committed to enhancing every aspect of our operations – which includes, of course, onboard shopping – and our expanded and enhanced retail offerings provide guests with an opportunity to enjoy some 'retail therapy' and take home a unique and memorable keepsake from their Carnival vacation," he said.

Here's a breakdown on some of the many new offerings available across the fleet:

• Effy (12 ships) – one of the largest manufactures of fine jewelry in the U.S., Effy's tax- and duty-free items feature a lifetime guarantee and run the gamut from colored gemstones and diamonds to tanzanite and other top-of-the-line products.

• Swarovski (25 ships) – one of the world's leading retailers of fashion jewelry offering custom jewelry, pearls, sterling silver and more.

• TAG (24 ships) – a leading manufacturer of high-end luxury timepieces, TAG's constantly evolving line of fine watches are worn by celebrities and sports stars the world over.

• Pandora (10 ships) – the nation's top costume jewelry provider offers a selection of custom bracelets, rings, necklaces, and charms, including, appropriately enough, some tied to a vacation theme with cruise ships, palm trees and sandals.

• Invicta (25 ships) – this high-end retailer offers a full line of fashion watches with hundreds of different styles to choose from – from exercise to every day and special occasions - providing consumers with a watch to suit any mood or taste.

• Victoria's Secret (22 ships) – purveyor of top beauty products offering a variety of popular items and accessories, including mists, lotions and perfumes, with convenient displays divided by the categories of Prestige, VS Fantasies and Rollerballs.

• Los Cincos Soles (4 ships) – this Mexican-themed retailer offers sterling silver jewelry, souvenirs, T-shirts, authentic arts and crafts created by local artisans.

Additionally, the line's Cherry on Top sweets shops offering bulk candies, novelty items and apparel are currently available on 20 ships.

Carnival's shipboard retail experience has also been enhanced with fun activities, special promotions, and giveaways, in-store parties and more. Select ships also feature stand-alone kiosks with "wearable tech" accessories that include the latest fitness trackers, pedometers, and heart rate monitors by brands like Fossil and others. Carnival has also made a significant investment in digital marketing across the fleet directing guests to marquee retail events and upcoming deals during their cruise.

Over the past year, Carnival has completely renovated the shopping outlets on Carnival Sensation, Carnival Elation, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Valor with Carnival Victory, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Legend and Carnival Paradise scheduled for retail refurbishments in the coming year. The new Carnival Horizon, set to debut in spring 2018, will take the line's retail offerings to the next level with the line's largest, most elaborate and diverse shopping experience to date with two decks of shops, boutiques and displays featuring top-name retailers.

Royal Caribbean Announces Pricing Of $800 Million Senior Unsecured Notes Offering
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today announced that it has priced an offering of senior unsecured notes in an aggregate principal amount of $800 million, consisting of two tranches.

The first tranche of $300 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2020 (the "2020 Notes") will bear interest at the rate of 2.650% per annum and will mature on November 28, 2020. The second tranche of $500 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2028 (together with the 2020 Notes, the "Senior Unsecured Notes") will bear interest at the rate of 3.700% per annum and will mature on March 15, 2028. The Senior Unsecured Notes are expected to be issued on November 28, 2017.

The company plans to use the proceeds from the offering to repay indebtedness, including but not limited to, its $290 million unsecured term loan due 2018 and portions of its unsecured revolving credit facility due 2020 and unsecured revolving credit facility due 2022, with any remaining proceeds being used for general corporate purposes.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.13 + 0.23%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 123.95 - 0.43%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.00 - 1.48%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.69 - 1.05%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which shipping company had a fleet of passenger ships with hulls painted lavender?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
From March 7 to March 21, 1940, New York city played host to a unique gathering of three of the largest liners ever to sail the oceans. Name these three ships.

Answer - The Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mary, and the Normandie (This is the only time these three ships were together in one port)
courtesy of Chris Kail

VACATION & CRUISE SPECIALS
Check out these great deals from CruisePage.com

Royal Caribbean - Bahamas Getaway from $129 per person
Description: Experience the beautiful ports of Nassau and Royal Caribbean's private island - CocoCay on a 3-night Weekend Getaway to the Bahamas. Absorb everything island life has to offer as you snorkel with the stingrays, parasail above the serene blue waters and walk the endless white sand beaches. From Miami.
Carnival - 4-Day Bahamas  from $229 per person
Description: Enjoy a wonderful 3 Day cruise to the fun-loving playground of Nassau, Bahamas. Discover Nassau, the capital city as well as the cultural, commercial and financial heart of the Bahamas. Meet the Atlantic Southern Stingrays, the guardians of Blackbeard's treasure.
NCL - Bermuda - 7 Day from $499 per person
Description: What a charming little chain of islands. Walk on pink sand beaches. Swim and snorkel in turquoise seas. Take in the historical sights. They're stoically British and very quaint. Or explore the coral reefs. You can get to them by boat or propelled by fins. You pick. Freestyle Cruising doesn't tell you where to go or what to do. Sure, you can plan ahead, or decide once onboard. After all, it's your vacation. There are no deadlines or must do's.
Holland America - Eastern Caribbean from From $599 per person
Description: White sand, black sand, talcum soft or shell strewn, the beaches of the Eastern Caribbean invite you to swim, snorkel or simply relax. For shoppers, there's duty-free St. Thomas, the Straw Market in Nassau, French perfume and Dutch chocolates on St. Maarten. For history buffs, the fascinating fusion of Caribbean, Latin and European cultures. For everyone, a day spent on HAL's award winning private island Half Moon Cay.
Celebrity - 7-Night Western Mediterranean  from $549 per person
Description: For centuries people have traveled to Europe to see magnificent ruins, art treasures and natural wonders. And the best way to do so is by cruise ship. Think of it - you pack and unpack only once. No wasted time searching for hotels and negotiating train stations. Instead, you arrive at romantic ports of call relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Holland America - Alaska from From $499 per person
Description: Sail between Vancouver and Seward, departing Sundays on the ms Statendam or ms Volendam and enjoy towering mountains, actively calving glaciers and pristine wildlife habitat. Glacier Bay and College Fjord offer two completely different glacier-viewing experiences.
|  Home  |  About Us  |  Suggest-a-Site  |  Feedback  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy  | 
This page, and all contents, are © 1995-2006 by Interactive Travel Guides, Inc. and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.
TravelPage.com is a trademark of Interactive Travel Guides, Inc.
Powered by TravelServer Software